Iconic actor James Dean will return to the silver screen in a new Vietnam War movie 65 years after his death. The epitome of pop culture, even before such a term existed, Dean represented an entire generation of disillusioned teens, particularly in his role as the troubled Jim Stark in 1955's Rebel Without A Cause.
Dean went on to star in two more films, East of Eden and Giant. However, Dean died tragically at the age of 24 in a car crash in 1955. After the accident, though, Dean became the first actor to receive a posthumous Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Although he only appeared in three movies, teenagers who identified with Dean's characters guaranteed that his legacy would continue. His life and death have inspired countless books and films, and even in 2019, his likeness appears on everything from posters to t-shirts, forever sealing his status as an icon of youthful rebellion. Cinephiles still regard Dean as one of the best actors who has ever lived.
Now, 65 years after Dean's death, the actor will get another chance to shine on the silver screen. According to THR, Dean will star in the film Finding Jack, via CGI, footage and photos. The movie, directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, has obtained the rights to use the actor's image from his family to create "a realistic version of James Dean." Based on the Gareth Crocker novel of the same name, Finding Jack tells the story of the abandonment of over 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. 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. 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. The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down."
This isn't the first time that an actor has been brought back to life after death with CGI. Although actor Peter Cushing passed away in 1994, he appeared in 2016's Rogue One: A Star Wars Story to reprise his role as Grand Moff Tarkin. That film used an actor to physically portray the character, later using CGI to overlay the actor's face with that of Cushing's. Rogue One also did something similar to create a young Princess Leia. The realism of the effects was lauded at the time, leading to the industry embracing the technology. Most recently, the Will Smith-starring vehicle Gemini Man used CGI to create a younger version of Smith so that he could star in a movie with himself. Although that film's story received mediocre reviews, nearly every critic praised it as a technological marvel.
However, there is bound to be some controversy when it comes to bringing dead actors back to life on the big screen. Although it can be done, should it? Not only does this take jobs away from living actors, but it might also seem that Hollywood is exploiting actors who are no longer alive to make decisions about their careers. Although it could be nice seeing Dean in a movie, in the end, fans will still have the sad understanding that it's not really him.