A furious row has been sparked over the announcement that long-dead actor James Dean will be “resurrected” for the forthcoming film Finding Jack.
Actors and fans of the late Hollywood star have condemned the plans to feature a CGI version of Dean in the movie, after production company Magic City Films obtained the rights to use his image from his family.
Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood tweeted a simple “NOPE” in response to the news, while Avengers star Chris Evans wrote: “This is awful... the complete lack of understanding here is shameful.”
Zelda Williams, daughter of the late actor and comedian Robin Williams, accused the producers of “puppeteering the dead”.
“It sets such an awful precedent for the future of performance,” she tweeted. “We should let the great performers of the past rest.”
Producer Anton Ernst said he will try to keep Dean's “legacy firmly intact”.
“We feel very honoured that his family supports us,” he said. “The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down.”
Dean, star of Rebel Without a Cause and Giant, died in 1955 aged 24.
He will be recreated in the action drama through a mixture of old footage and computer-generated creations projected over stand-ins, as a secondary character called Rogan.
“We searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan,” said Ernst. “After months of research, we decided on James Dean.”
The film is based on the 2013 novel by Gareth Crocker, which in turn was inspired by the abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the conflict.
The use of CGI to resurrect artists from another era is the subject of ongoing debate. In 2013, Audrey Hepburn’s likeness was used in a 2013 advert for Galaxy chocolate, while Peter Cushing and Carrie Fisher have both had their features digitally mapped into Star Wars films.
Finding Jack is scheduled for release in November 2020.
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