It’s been talked about for years. Rogue One took a big step back in 2016 when they brought Grand Moff Tarkin back to the big screen many years after actor Peter Cushing’s death, and de-ageing CGI has been used in many recent films – Will Smith in Gemini Man, Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel – but to have an actor play a character in a film from beyond the grave is a first. We all knew it was coming; the technology has been here for long enough, there just had to be a reason to use it. Well, directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh have acquired the rights to James Dean’s likeness from his family, and they promise that by combining old pictures, audio and footage, as well as some CGI and lookalikes, they will deliver a “realistic version of James Dean”.
It’s perfectly understandable that in the foreseeable future, this will be the norm and there would be no question around using a dead actor’s likeness to portray a film character. Some actors are irreplaceable and when somebody’s perfect for a role, they are PERFECT for it. And that’s what director Anton Ernst thinks about Dean playing Rogan in Finding Jack.
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.
It’s no surprise that not everybody online is comfortable about this, marking it as disrespectful of the dead. But if Dean’s family have agreed to it, there’s nothing stopping them. It’s not down to fans whether James Dean can be resurrected or not, no matter how creepy it might seem. Having celebrities return digitally after death has been done before. In the music industry, Elvis Presley stands at 5 posthumous releases, and recently George Michael’s This Is How premiered, three years prior to his death. Of course having someone posthumously star in a film isn’t the same as releasing a song, but it is these small steps that got us to where we are now, having a dead actor star in an upcoming movie.
Finding Jack is an action-drama based on Gareth Crocker’s novel of the same title about the 10,000 military dogs that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. Dean’s character Rogan is considered a secondary lead role, his first appearance on the silver screen since 1956. However with his death being in 1955, this won’t be the first film he appears in released after his demise.
What are your thoughts on resurrecting actors to star in movies posthumously? Do you think it is right? Do you think it will become a regular occurrence in the film industry? Let us know on Twitter and remember to add Finding Jack to your Kernel watchlist.