He may have died in 1955 — but you haven’t seen the last film featuring James Dean.
In a creepy turn, the Hollywood icon will be digitally reincarnated to star in the action film “Finding Jack,” in which he’ll play a secondary character named Rogan, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
Magic City Films will use CGI to resurrect Dean, who was killed in a car crash at age 24, by way of “full body” recreations from archival photos and footage of the actor. Magic City, a new production company founded by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, received a thumbs-up from Dean’s family.
“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,” Ernst told the outlet. “The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down.”
Based on Gareth Crocker’s novel of the same title, “Finding Jack” tells the story of efforts to rescue thousands of military dogs that were classified by the US government as “surplus military equipment” and abandoned overseas at the end of the Vietnam War. Production is set to start Nov. 17 for release on Veterans Day in 2020.
“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,” said Ernst of the “extreme” decision to revive the actor. Dean is best known for his roles in films including “East of Eden,” “Rebel Without a Cause” and his final movie “Giant,” released in 1956 and co-starring Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson, Dennis Hopper and Sal Mineo.
Of course, using CGI to reanimate isn’t limited to creating a digital Hulk in the “Avengers” movies or long-extinct dinosaurs in the “Jurassic Park” franchise. Robert De Niro was “de-aged” by 50 years for some scenes in Martin Scorsese’s new film “The Irishman,” which co-stars Al Pacino and Joe Pesci.
And in September, the estate of pop singer Whitney Houston — who died Feb. 11, 2012, on the eve of that year’s Grammy Awards — announced that “An Evening With Whitney: The Whitney Houston Hologram Tour” will kick off with a band, dancers and a digitally resurrected Houston in early 2020.
By Eric Hegedus