Actor-turned-director Shia LaBeouf faced criticism today after it emerged that his short film ‘HowardCantour.com’ was in fact completely plagiarised from ‘Spy Kids 4D: All the Time in the World’. Released on Monday, it was a matter of hours before film buffs realised that LaBeouf’s directorial debut was in fact shot-for-shot the same as the 2011 children’s adventure sequel directed and written by Robert Rodriguez.
“When we were handed our ‘scratch-and-sniff’ cards to add the 4th dimension of smell to the movie, and the opening credits finished and we learnt that the Organization of Super Spies were trying to kidnap a supervillain called Tick Tock, I admit some warning bells went off,” said film critic Philip French. “But I was willing to put those doubts aside. However, by the time Danger D’amo appeared and we’d experienced the thrills of aroma-scope, I think everyone in the cinema realised we were literally just watching ‘Spy Kids 4D’.”
LaBeouf has apologised for plagiarising in a series of tweets. “I got excited and creatively influenced in a big way by ‘Spy Kids 4D,” he said. It was only after the film had been released that I realised where the inspiration for important aspects of my film like the Chronos Sapphire, Project Armageddon, and the term ‘Spy Kids’ had come from. I’m horrified that people might mistakenly assume that my complete recreation of ‘Spy Kids 4D: All the Time in the World’ without any attribution was in fact in any way meant to be being passed off as my own artistic vision.”
This isn’t the first time that allegations of plagiarism have ruined an actor’s attempts at directing. In 2005, George Clooney’s McCarthy-era political thriller ‘Goodnight and Good Luck’ was revealed to have drawn heavily from Disney’s ‘Air Bud’ series.