Hollywood legend James Dean, who died at the age of 24 in a car crash in 1955, is being brought back to the big screen with the help of CGI visual effects for the Vietnam era movie "Finding Jack".
Dean, whose fame rests on just three films -- "Rebel Without a Cause", "East of Eden" and "Giant", is considered a screen icon whose life was tragically cut short.
Magic City Films has obtained rights from his family to cast Dean posthumously in the secondary lead role in the movie. Dean will be recreated using actual photographs and videos, reported Variety.
"Finding Jack", to be produced by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, will be adapted from Gareth Crocker's novel. To be adapted by Maria Sova, the story revolves around the abandonment of over 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. Dean's digital recreation will be cast as Rogan.
"We feel very honoured 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, producer Anton Ernst said in a statement.
"The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down," Ernst added.
Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, the business agent for the family of James Dean said, "With the rapidly evolving technology, we see this as a whole new frontier for many of our iconic clients. This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us."
The producers have brought Canadian VFX company Imagine Engine and South African VFX company MOI Worldwide to recreate a realistic version of Dean.
Geoff Anderson from Imagine Engine will be overseeing the VFX supervision relating to Dean's recreation, Variety added.
The announcement that Dean, a youth icon for generations of Hollywood stars, would be brought to life 64 years after his death has met with widespread criticism from actors such as Chris Evans, Zelda Williams and Elijah Wood
"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," Evans tweeted.
Actor Robin Williams' daughter Zelda said it will set an awful precedent for the future of performance.
"Preacher" actor Julie Ann Emery said the digital recreation of Dean raises moral and practical questions.
"That's not James Dean. It's his face on a motion capture performance and an 'anonymous' actor providing voice pattern and choices. I'd like to know how it will be credited. How the real actors will be paid. And how little this team understands the acting craft," she wrote on Twitter.
Devon Sawa, who auditioned for a different role in "Finding Jack", also commented on the casting of a deceased actor, tweeting, "They couldn't give this role to an actual human?"
The de-ageing process has emerged as the new phenomenon in Hollywood with a number of prestige projects rolling back the years of its actors, latest being Martin Scorsese's "The Irishman", where Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci have been de-aged to portray their characters in different stages of life.
Director Ang Lee also showed a younger clone of Will Smith's character in "Gemini Man" and gave the world's its first digital human.
Marvel tentpoles such as "Captain Marvel" and "Avengers: Endgame" also used the de-ageing technology to show the past of their lead characters.
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