Filmmakers Announce Plans to CGI James Dean Into New Film, Good Idea?

You know technology has come a long way when you wake up and hear that a CGI James Dean will star in a new Vietnam war drama.

The director of the film “Finding Jack,” a Vietnam war drama, announced his plan to include a CGI James Dean as an actor in the film. While this would probably look really cool on screen, but not everyone is happy about this. James Dean was an American actor in the 50’s and has since become an icon. He is best known for his role in the film Rebel Without a Cause. Unfortunately, Dean passed away in 1955 at the age of 24 due to a car accident. His death is what is causing the uproar about the recent CGI James Dean casting decision.

The Issue

An image of James Dean
James Dean

Many people see the use of James Dean’s likeness for the film rather than casting an actor who is actually alive is exploitative and immoral. Actors from across Hollywood have come out to condemn the decision, stating Dean is being used as a marketing tool to drum up discussion about the movie and make people want to watch. I don’t know if I completely disagree with this argument. I’m sure there are actors out there who can act out the part just fine, and the rebuttal that they could not find a suitable actor for the role is just not acceptable. I wouldn’t go as far as saying it’s immoral but I can agree that it is most definitely a marketing strategy.

Celebrity Reaction

Actors such as Cole Sprouse, Elijah Wood, Zelda Williams and Captain America himself, Chris Evans have all come out against this decision to cast a CGI James Dean. Zelda, the daughter of late comedian Robin Williams stated it doesn’t surprise her that the industry would stoop this low and that “Publicity stunt or not, this is puppeteering the dead for their ‘clout’ alone and it sets such an awful precedent for the future of performance.” It is safe to assume she would not be down for a CGI version of her dad to be on screen anytime soon.

Chris Evans was particularly unenthusiastic about the casting and did not hold back his disapproval on Twitter. He alludes to the possibility of computers taking over and his confusion over the filmmaker’s lack of awareness that this maybe isn’t the best idea. Internet trolls are firing back claiming the only reason all these celebrities are upset it because they lost the role to a CGI James Dean. They’re all thinking, first we had to compete with people just as hot as we are, and now we have to compete with computers who are just as hot as we are? How will they survive? Seriously though, technology is really freaking me out.

The Directors’ Response

The directors of the movie, Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh responded to the backlash to The Hollywood Reporter, saying they were both saddened and confused by the reaction.

“We never intended for this to be a marketing gimmick… We will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact,”

Anton Ernst

They claim they screen tested and held auditions for a number of actors but ultimately decided that James Dean was the best person for the job. According to The New York Times, filmmakers have bought the right to Dean’s image and will combine old footage of the actor with CGI recreations of him. Moviegoers however will not get the full James Dean experience because he will be voiced by an actor alive today.

Anyways, I feel like I cannot make a decision on the moral correctness of casting a CGI James Dean until I actually watch the movie. Finding Jack is set to be released on November 11, 2019.

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