James Dean to Star in New Movie Because Hubris

James Dean, the beloved actor who died in 1955, is being recreated using CGI so he can star in a Vietnam war movie. Yeah, you read that right. 

An action drama called Finding Jack, about 10,000 war dogs abandoned by the US Military after Vietnam, has found its new star. 

Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh have announced that they reached an agreement with the Dean family and estate. They will create “a realistic version of James Dean” to star in the film.

The project comes from the filmmakers' own production house Magic City Films. Imagine Engine will work alongside MOI Worldwide to re-create the filmmakers' dream casting scenario. 

So yeah, James Dean is going to be in a movie. 

They'll try to accomplish something between Gemini Man and Rogue One, two films that use complete CGI-created full-body characters. 

Credit: Sid Avery

Anton Ernst had this to say: 

"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."

While the body will be constructed using CGI, a to-be-determined actor will supply James Dean's voice...since he's been dead for 50+ years. 

But don't worry, if there are other actors who you wanted in your movie who are already dead, Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, has you covered.

He represents Dean’s family alongside more than 1,700 entertainment, sports, music and historical personalities (Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis, and Jack Lemmon). And even the dead ones are open for business.  

His quote? 

"This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us."

Yes, this is an open cash-grab.

But is it that wrong? 

Yes. It is. 

James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor in Giant (1956)

Instead of recreating a role we already had, like Tarkin in Rogue One, this kind of stuff cheapens acting in general. It's definitely a stunt to get publicity for their title, and it is definitely working. Everyone is carrying this story. 

And if the movie is financed and made, a lot of people will go see it or rent it just to see if it worked. 

So maybe they've already won. 

Even if that win makes my heart break for every actor out there looking to be cast in an emotionally meaty role. 

You're telling me that none of the people they auditioned was better than a figment in their head? 

Come on. 

The hubris behind this is that a computer can replicate what made James Dean a great actor. The nuance of his inflection, of his looks, the way he could make you feel his pain but also let you know he contained multitudes. 

At least Will Smith portrayed himself in Gemini Man and actually did the acting part.  

Anyway, this is happening.

Preproduction on Finding Jack starts Nov. 17, with a goal for a worldwide release on Veterans Day 2020. Magic City Films is handling foreign sales.

Rest in peace, James Dean. Sorry these dudes are tearing you apart.      

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Your Comment


"Traditionalist yells at technology"

November 6, 2019 at 2:57PM

Joseph Estrade
Film Editor/Producer

"Progressivist consumes anything new with a shit eating grin just because it's new".

If they make a new Ebola virus, some people will rush to get it, because "progress"

November 7, 2019 at 2:57AM, Edited November 7, 2:57AM


All of his family are fine with it so why not? It sounds like a really fascinating project.

November 6, 2019 at 5:30PM, Edited November 6, 5:30PM


> Yes, this is an open cash-grab. But is it that wrong? Yes. It is.

A problem (or issue) with a society like the American one, with no shared ethical and cultural code, is that you can never say something is wrong or tasteless, etc.

If it makes bucks for someone, and some people pay to see it, etc, or consider it OK, then that's that.

There's no cultural shared ground to stand on to say anything about anything. Superhero movies are just as good as Apocalypse Now or Cassavetes, dead actors images milked is OK, since it can be done and some people are fine with it, etc.

No wonder there are so many crazies in a place where money and the individual caprice is the only shared value... Enjoy your cultural wasteland...

November 7, 2019 at 2:56AM, Edited November 7, 2:58AM


Well put, you got this topic fully covered. If money-wise is worth it, then it makes sense.

November 11, 2019 at 2:20AM


Agree with you. Leave the dead people in peace

November 20, 2019 at 4:55AM


My only issue is that they pretended that they couldn't find anyone else to play the part. Just be hone$t!

November 7, 2019 at 6:22AM


So, since Dean's family are ok with this whole fiasco and they already conisider this as his "fourth film", then every other sound argument here seems pointless. I guess a "no4 sequel" with a spooky digital version of one of cinema's greatest actors "playing his new role" is quite "awesome" and has a place in 21st century's already fucked-up universe. I guess everything is "cool" with cgi and in case someone has a differnet opinion, he/she is by default old-fashioned and retro-addict. Of course the production will not let down the fans.

November 11, 2019 at 2:41AM