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James Dean back in new film (or is he)

James Dean

My headline is false, the image of James Dean will appear in a new film via CGI effects. To make it appear Dean is appearing in a fourth movie (the actual James Dean only appeared in three film roles* before his death by automobile) the Magic City production company has licensed Dean from his family. The film is to be released in 2020.

"Dean will play a character named Rogan in the pic, of which Ernst said: “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.”

Article at Deadline Hollywood

Though IMDB is placing the coming film into their list of James Dean acting credits, who can possibly accept that this will actually be James Dean on the screen, no matter how well constructed the computer-derived visuals?

CGI has already been used to change the age on actors in films of the last decade, and has recently was used to completely manufacture deceased actors into movies made after their passing, for example Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher in recent Star Wars movies. As impressive as these computer-constructed images were, I don't believe many people were fooled that they were looking at just another "live" actor on the screen.

Casting deceased actors into new films has been done many times by recycling footage from past movies into new movies (for example Steve Martin's 1982 comedy Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid), but even IMDB recognizes what's going on here by listing the acting credit as from "archival footage." That won't be the case in this coming film (Finding Jack) which is stepping out into a whole new area of film production. Long predicted (or feared) in the past, the concept of licensing dead actors and producing new films featuring them has arrived.

Media covering this James Dean project with various levels of delight and alarm:

Actors against the project - CNN

More actors against the project - MSN News

James Dean "Better off dead" - The UK Guardian

Movie is titled 'Finding Jack' - CBS News

* James Dean credits: Giant, East of Eden, and Rebel Without A Cause


Original Page November 2019


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