Someone Thought It Was a Good Idea to Cast a CGI James Dean in a Movie

Filmmakers behind the upcoming film, Finding Jack, have decided it’s a good idea to posthumously cast James Dean in a leading role…

Folks, I’m at a loss. This morning, thanks to a report from THR, brought word that directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh are bringing James Dean (who passed away in 1955) back to life for a new film. The Vietnam-set action/drama film, Finding Jack, is a story based around the, very real, fact that 10,000 military dogs were abandoned after the war.

James Dean will be brought back, using CGI, to play the role of Rogan, who’s set to be a co-lead in the film. So….yeahhhhhhhhhhhh. That’s a bit odd. I mean, it’s great that they were able to get the family’s permission to do so, but I can’t help but think it’s a bit awful, and setting a potentially bad precedent. It doesn’t sound any better when they tried to explain either:

“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.”

Really? Out of ALL the living actors today, not a single one could have filled this role? Okay. Sure, Jan. I know, I know, this isn’t exactly new technology, nor even the first time it’s been done.

I’ll be the first to tell you, I loved how Rogue One brought back Grand Moff Tarkin, using Peter Cushing’s likeness. So what’s the difference? Namely, Tarkin was used sparingly in the film and couldn’t be considered a “lead” in the film. Not to mention he was a previously established character in an existing franchise.

With Finding Jack, the level of manipulation needed to bring James Dean to the role is significantly more. It’s an entire performance and literally putting words in his mouth as opposed to working with a character who’s been handled in other mediums (books, comics, games, etc). Peter Cushing had already agreed to play the Star Wars villain, but who’s to say this is a role James Dean, who wasn’t even around to SEE the effects of Vietnam, would agree to the role if he were alive?

It’s a fine line to walk, but the idea of wholesale bringing dead actors to life for brand new roles feels wrong. I appreciate the idea, but this is a tough one to get on board with. How do you feel about James Dean getting a lead role in this manner?

Finding Jack is slated to arrive at some point in 2020.