James Dean, legendary young Hollywood icon who died at the age of 24 in 1955, is returning to the silver screen. Through the magic of CGI, the film, Finding Jack, directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, obtained the right to use Dean’s image and announced they would be re-creating a “realistic version of James” — news which left fans of the actor, and of movies in general, horrified.
Finding Jack, which is based on Maria Sova and Gareth Crocker’s novel, is a movie that takes places during Vietnam War, and CGI Dean has been cast a character named Rogan. As announced via The Hollywood Reporter, “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,” said Ernst.
“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,” Ernst 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.”
Canadian VFX banner Imagine Engine and South African VFX company MOI Worldwide have been hired to create CGI James Dean as Rogan, a secondary character in the movie about the abandonment of more than 10,000 dogs at the end of the Vietnam War.
News That James Dean Was Coming Back From the Dead Was Met With Skepticism And Horror, Even Chris Evans Hates The Idea
Dean has been dead for over 60 years, and the aghast reaction that he’d be returning to film wasn’t likely how Finding Jack producers saw how their big announcement would be received. The idea of the late actor, who left an indelible mark on the world with the films, Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden, returning to film, but in a way that his body will be constructed via “full body” CGI, and with the use of another actor’s voice — it was hard for people on Twitter to wrap their head around this logic.
The biggest complaint was that of casting complaining that they were not able to find one actor in the world to play the role of Rogan. Even actor Chris Evans thought it was ridiculous. He tweeted, “I’m sure he’d be thrilled. This is awful. Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. Or write a couple new John Lennon tunes. The complete lack of understanding here is shameful.”
Aisha Harris was able to find humor in the news. She tweeted, “Dream as if you’ll live forever, die as if you’ll be resurrected and treated like intellectual property by uninspired filmmakers 60 years later.”
Further angering fans, many users online believed if Dean were still alive, he’d hate everything about this posthumous casting.
What Does This Mean for the Future of Film & TV?
Perhaps, what’s scaring people the most is the fact that technology is able to resurrect actors from the dead, and worry what this means for the future of film and TV. Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, said of bringing Dead back in Finding Jack, “This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us.”
Courtney Pochin, audience writer for the Daily Mirror, tweeted, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”