Despite what the title suggests, this is not a joke. I actually came across this story when I saw Amber, from Hallmarkies Podcast, comment about it on Twitter. After the negative reaction this piece of movie news caused on the aforementioned social media platform, I knew I had to talk about it. There are several movie bloggers that I know who specialize in writing about the Classic Film Era, so I assume they’ll have thoughts on this topic as well. Two days ago, on November 6th, Alex Ritman, from the The Hollywood Reporter, reported that the creative team behind a film called Finding Jack will incorporate James Dean through the use of CGI. In this article, Alex wrote that the film’s directors, Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, “obtained the rights to use Dean’s image from his family”. In relation to this, Anton Ernst said “We feel very honored this 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”. As for the specifics on how Finding Jack’s creative team will bring James back, Alex states “that Dean’s performance will be constructed via “full body” CGI using actual footage and photos. Another actor will voice him”. According to the article, Finding Jack will begin preproduction on November 17th, with the intent to release the film next Veterans Day.
I’m going to be honest, I’m not a fan of this decision for a number of reasons. Even though James Dean’s family approved of this idea, James Dean himself did not. Because he’s been gone for several decades, he has been unable to stand up for himself and give his consent. Bringing him back by using his image without his permission is not only exploitive, but also manipulative. This opportunity gives Finding Jack’s creative team the ability to use James’ image to their liking, not how James himself would have wanted. This situation kinds of reminds me of how I felt about the film, Edward, My Son. I mentioned in that review how, because of the creative team’s choice not to feature Edward on screen, it denied any actor the opportunity to receive a “standing ovation” they had probably worked hard to achieve. In the case of Finding Jack, any actor is denied a chance to add another project to their filmography because this creative team wants to capitalize on a deceased star’s popularity. The decision to bring back James is this manner is also quite cruel. Fans of James Dean are understandably upset that he passed away at such a young age. With Finding Jack’s creative team incorporating James into their film, they are giving his fans and their audience false hope, whether or not it was intentional. I’m guessing that this is a one-time decision, but fans would probably rather see him in more than one project. If fans of other decreased stars find out about this decision from Finding Jack’s creative team, they might want to see them come back in a similar fashion. Personally, I think this creative team’s intention could lead to bad results. It could also open up a can of worms that may never close again.
What are your thoughts on this story? How do you feel about the idea of bringing back deceased stars through technology? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
Have fun at the movies!
Here is the link to the article I referenced in this post:
You can visit Amber’s official Twitter account by typing @amberbrainwaves into Twitter’s search bar.