James Dean to Star in a New Movie Entirely via CG Recreation


Well I think we all knew this was coming. After recent CG advances have allowed digital likenesses of Peter Cushing and a young Carrie Fisher to pass by almost unnoticed in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, we have been moving towards a day where actors will return to the big screen from beyond the grave with entirely new performances. Now that day seems to be upon us with the announcement of a movie that will star a CG recreation of legendary actor James Dean, who died tragically in a car crash in 1955 at the age of 24. The movie is a Vietnam era action-drama called Finding Jack and co-director Anton Ernst had this to say about the project:

“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… We feel very honored that 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.”

Canadian VFX house Imagine Engine and South African company MOI Worldwide will be using actual footage and photos to create a realistic CG version of Dean. He will be voiced by another actor, however, and the rest of the movie will be live-action. While this sounds like a huge gimmick, it is projects like this that will slowly push the idea of digital posthumous performances into the mainstream. Living human actors, your days are numbered. What do you think, does this open up exciting new possibilities or is it just a horrifying idea?

  • Jake

    “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” LOL, is this a real quote? Why on earth would you start looking at deceased actors? There are plenty of living actors who could go through “extreme complex character arcs”. It did seem like an inevitability, but didn’t think it would be so soon. Something tells me this might never happen though. Seems just like a way some indie filmmakers can get their name out there.

  • Rolf

    Isn’t desecration of a corpse illegal?

  • Lior

    For me the CGI Fisher and Cushing in Rogue One were very noticeable…. I did not like them at all, there is something almost unholy in this trend because the uncanny valley is still there.
    Especially if you know the actors, it will never replace the real thing. Well, maybe in the future when we have holodecks, but not now.

  • Lori Cerny

    Realistically though, maybe it depends on the celebrities estate and whether they choose to license the star’s likeness?

    I know there was a Marilyn Monroe Estate which sued unlicensed publishing of MM’s pictures.

    Quoting TrustCounsel.com:

    “In 2005, Anna Strasberg and CMG teamed up to sue photographers who used Marilyn Monroe’s image without permission. The court battle last for seven years and led to new legislation in California (which Strasberg pushed for) to allow non-relative heirs to control the publicity and image rights of a deceased celebrity.

    BUT Even this didn’t stop the fight for control of Monroe’s image as a federal court of appeals ruled in 2012 that Marilyn Monroe’s estate was governed by the laws of New York, not California. This meant that California’s new law passed to protect Strasberg and Monroe’s other heirs under her will did not help. Instead, New York law – which did not recognize a celebrity’s publicity rights after death – dictated that anyone could use her image or likeness for commercial purposes without compensating the heirs.

    Even facing such a bad court decision, Strasberg sold her interest in the estate for a reported $30 million. The figure undoubtedly would have been much higher if the litigation over control of Marilyn Monroe’s image and legacy would have gone her way.

    Now, anyone is now allowed to sell images of Marilyn Monroe and profit off of her likeness.”

  • Lori Cerny

    Although this IS a horrifying idea, I will definitely watch!!!

  • sumguy


  • Jameson

    Having just dressed as James Dean for Halloween, this is gross and lazy.

  • Lior

    Yes, I just went and read the entire quote (before that I only saw the headline), and it does sound like a joke. At least I hope it is.
    It would make some sense if the movie was ABOUT James Dean or if that fact it’s James Dean had any significance within the plot, but just because you couldn’t find the right actor? WTF?! Nobody’s around that can handle complex character arcs? These people are inhaling some strong stuff…

  • 1138sw

    Agreed! Horrified but I’ll admit too I’m interested in seeing how this turns out!

  • Somewhere Montgomery Clift is rolling in his grave for not getting this part.

  • Beat_C

    WTF? i’d honestly be interested to know about the legal implications. who signs off on this? is a person becoming common property at some point? in any case, it seems such a violation of someone’s personal rights and peace … just gross.

  • Lori Cerny

    Well, it does spur discussion, headlines, and curiosity, so free publicity, right?

  • Ben Bueno

    This is dark…