James Dean set to be reincarnated in CG form for Finding Jack

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The iconic star James Dean will play a ‘secondary character’ in the upcoming action-drama after project acquires image rights from his family.

In news sure to reignite the debate about the use of movie stars’ images once they have passed away, directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh have announced that they intend to use CGI to feature James Dean in their upcoming movie, Finding Jack, according to Dark Horizons.

Based on a novel of the same name, the story is based on true events following the Vietnam war where 10,000 dogs were abandoned at the end of the conflict. Dean’s likeness is set to be used to portray a secondary character named Rogan with a voice actor completing the role.

The use of computer generated imagery to ‘resurrect’ actors from beyond the grave is a topic that continues to be debated, in both the professional and the ethical sense, following the developing use of the technology in the last decade. Much is often made of the actor in question’s family ‘giving their blessing’ and it’s true that objections to the process seem to be muted when CGI is used to complete an actor’s role in a movie, allowing their final work to be seen, as in the cause of Paul Walker in Furious 7, among others. However, opinions tend to be more sharply divided when an actor’s likeness is appropriated and used in a project that they had never agreed to, as in the case of Peter Cushing reprising the role of Grand Moff Tarkin in 2016’s Rogue One or the use of Bruce Lee to promote a well-known brand of alcohol when he was, in fact, teetotal.

With Dean especially, it looks set to be a sensitive matter because the iconic actor’s filmography ran to just three films (in credited roles) before his life was cut tragically short. Furthermore, all three of those films, East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause and Giant are considered to be classics, leaving the actor with an unsullied body of work. How the CGI ‘James Dean’ in Finding Jack will affect that body of work is of course unclear at this point, but the trend of resurrected movie stars looks set to continue. More on this one as we have it.

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