Like many other stories about this topic, you will be hearing the whole “future is now” rhetoric. Even though we don’t have our flying cars, food in pill form, or real hoverboards (you know, the ones without wheels), we have the technology to replicate actors that have been dead for 65 years for a secondary role in a movie. James Dean will make his film return in a new movie, Finding Jack.
The old line of “there aren’t enough actors to fill the role” takes a new turn when you bring back a dead actor for no apparent reason. There is a term for this type of digital wizardry, it’s called “deep fake”. You have seen it on the internet. Currently, there is a video online that has what Indiana Jones would look like if it was Tom Selleck (who was originally cast in the role) and not Harrison Ford. It’s pretty damn good.
The film is based on the novel of the same name and revolves around the abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. Dean will play what is described as a secondary role in the film. The film’s setting doesn’t even allow itself for a Dean’s appearance. Given the actor died before the United States even got into Vietnam.
Finding Jack is being directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, who obtained the rights to use Dean’s image from his family. Ernst and Golykh will be producing through their production house Magic City Films, while Imagine Engine will be working alongside South African VFX company MOI Worldwide to bring James Dean back to life.
Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide ( www.CMGworldwide.com ), 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.”
Added Ernst: “Our partners in South Africa are very excited about this, as this technology would also be employed down the line to re-create historical icons such as Nelson Mandela to tell stories of cultural heritage significance.”
Yes, we have seen digital recreations of actors before. Many of them are franchise pieces that resurrect passed on actors (or actor’s that are too old) to return them to bygone eras for continuity. Marvel and Star Wars have made this a mainstay in their releases. Yet, bringing an actor that hasn’t been seen in 65 years, to a property that has no connection, means that they are solely doing this for publicity. And nothing more.