A CGI James Dean is cast in new film, sparking an outcry | TribLIVE.com
Movies/TV

A CGI James Dean is cast in new film, sparking an outcry

Associated Press
1911967_web1_gtr-liv-jamesdean-01-110819
AP
Actor James Dean starred in the Warner Bros. 1956 epic, “Giant.”

James Dean hasn’t been alive in 64 years, but the “Rebel Without a Cause” actor has been cast in a new film about the Vietnam War.

The filmmakers behind the independent film “Finding Jack” said Wednesday that a computer-generated Dean will play a co-starring role in the upcoming production. The digital Dean is to be assembled through old footage and photos and voiced by another actor.

Digitally manipulated posthumous performances have made some inroads into films. But those have been largely roles the actors already played, including Carrie Fisher and Peter Cushing, who first appeared together in “Star Wars” and were prominently featured in the 2016 spinoff “Rogue One.”

But the prospect of one of the movies’ most beloved former stars being digitally resurrected was met with widespread criticism after the news was first reported by The Hollywood Reporter . Chris Evans, the “Captain America” actor, was among those who called the plans disrespectful and wrongheaded.

Rights to Dean’s likeness were acquired by the filmmakers and the production company Magic City Films through CMG Worldwide. The company represents Dean’s family along with the intellectual property rights associated with many other deceased personalities including Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis and Burt Reynolds.

Mark Roesler, chairman and chief executive of CMG, defended the usage of Dean and said the company has represented his family for decades. Noting that Dean has more than 183,000 followers on Instagram, Roesler said he still resonates today.

“James Dean was known as Hollywood’s ‘rebel’ and he famously said ‘if a man can bridge the gap between life and death, if he can live after he’s died, then maybe he was a great man. Immortality is the only true success,’” said Roesler. “What was considered rebellious in the ’50s is very different than what is rebellious today, and we feel confident that he would support this modern day act of rebellion.”

Adapted from Gareth Crocker’s novel, “Finding Jack” is a live-action movie about the U.S. military’s abandonment of canine units following the Vietnam War. Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh are to begin shooting Nov. 17. In an email, Ernst said they “tremendously” respect Dean’s legacy.

“The movie subject matter is one of hope and love, and he is still relevant like the theme of the film we are portraying,” said Ernst. “There is still a lot of James Dean fans worldwide who would love to see their favorite icon back on screen. There would always be critics, and all we can do is tell a great story with humanity and grace.”

Dean had just three leading roles before he died in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24: “Rebel Without a Cause,” ”East of Eden” and “Giant.”

Categories: AandE | Movies TV
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.