Nobody can fathom why Shia Lebeouf simply didn’t admit to “sampling” a Daniel Clowes comic-book character (i.e., Justin M. Damiano) at the beginning of HowardCantour.com, his recently released short film. All he had to do was say “ripped off from Daniel Clowes…due respect but this was the process.” But no — he tried to pass it off as an original.
In any event, Lebeouf has now tweeted that he’s “retiring from all public life.” Not really. He’s just an emotional guy who’s throwing up his hands and saying “fuck it” for the time being. He’s feeling heavily assaulted and is basically taking a vacation from the slings and arrows. He’ll be back in a year or so. His Clowes plagiarism thing was an artistic felony, of course, but he presumably learned a lesson. I’m guessing that he’s retiring like Frank Sinatra retired in ’68 and like Steven Soderbergh is retired now.
Five and half years ago in Cannes I made the mistake of congratulating Lebeouf for having reportedly gone “into the program” after a couple of episodes indicated he had an alcohol problem. He said I had heard wrong, that he wasn’t going to AA meetings, “just livin’ my life,” etc. Then I saw Lebeouf glare angrily at Carey Mulligan at an October 2009 Manhattan press event for An Education (they had been having an affair during filming of Oliver Stone‘s Wall Street sequel and things were apparently winding down). I put two and two together and said to myself, “This guy has a couple of issues.”