James Dean is a full-blown cultural icon. His performances in Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden are ones that will never be forgotten.
One of the too many stars who were taken from us too soon, the actor died in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24. Now, Hollywood is looking to breathe new life into the actor’s career.
With today’s technological advancements, Canadian visual effects company Image Engine and South African visual effects company MOI Worldwide will work together to re-create James’ likeness for a new film, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Finding Jack is slated to be a Vietnam War-era action drama, directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh.
Their production house, Magic City Films, has obtained the rights to use James’ image from his family.
We’ve seen a lot of possibilities for bringing back performers who have died within the music industry and even actors to finish out roles already in progress in film. This seems to be the first time that Hollywood will posthumously cast an actor for a role. It isn’t sitting well with a lot of people, however, from fans of the late actor to other members of the Hollywood community.
James Dean is an unforgettable cultural icon. The Rebel Without a Cause actor met an untimely end when he died in a car crash at the age of 24 in 1955. While Hollywood has long mourned his passing, no one expected to see James on the big screen again.
One production house is daring to try to do just that. Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh have started a new production house, Magic City Films. They have obtained the right to use James’ image from his family.
Canadian visual effects company Image Engine will team up with South African visual effects company MOI Worldwide to attempt to create “a realistic version of James Dean,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The CGI form of the actor will hold a secondary lead role in their film, Finding Jack. The Vietnam War-era film was adapted by Maria Sova from Gareth Crocker’s novel of the same name. James’ character is named Rogan.
While full-body CGI will be used to create the actor’s movements, another actor will be brought in to voice the character. The film begins production later this month and is aiming for a Veteran’s Day 2020 release.
“We searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan, which has some extreme complex character arcs, and after months of research, we decided on James Dean,” noted Anton.
“We feel very honored that his family supports us and will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact,” he continued. “The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down.”
Not everyone is on board with this idea, however. There has already been pushback from fans of the late actor, as well as other actors. Chris Evans was one of the first to express his displeasure with the concept.
Elijah Wood also tweeted out the story, adding “NOPE. this shouldn’t be a thing.” The tweet has since gotten over 17,000 likes from people who don’t agree with the posthumous use of James’ likeness.
As some fans pointed out, not only is it odd to cast the actor in the role, but it’s also against the beliefs he held in life. James was outspokenly against the war in his lifetime, leading fans to believe he wouldn’t have accepted such a role if he was alive to have a say.
Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, which represents James’ family along with more than 1,700 entertainment, sports, music, and historical personalities, hopes this is just the beginning of bringing back fallen favorites.
“This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us,” he noted. In his case, that includes Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis, Jack Lemmon, and more.
Anton added, “Our partners in South Africa are very excited about this, as this technology would also be employed down the line to re-create historical icons such as Nelson Mandela to tell stories of cultural heritage significance.”
It’s understandable why so many people are against this idea. It doesn’t feel right to reanimate dead actors for our modern-day amusement, but clearly some people think this is the future of Hollywood. Only time will tell.