James Dean to Suffer CGI Resurrection in Upcoming Movie—and Everyone Hates the Idea

”There are cheaper ways to get to the uncanny valley if you really want to go there”

Screen icon and method acting pioneer James Dean is forever connected to the motto, “Live fast, die young, and leave a good-looking corpse,” but now a group of filmmakers have paid off the legend’s family to see that his fatalistic legacy is undone via a computer-generated facsimile that, apparently, no one is looking forward to seeing.

Magic City Films announced today that it’s reached a deal with Dean’s estate to use a CGI recreation of Dean for its upcoming Vietnam War action flick, Finding Jack, based on the 2011 novel by Gareth Crocker about U.S. military service dogs that were abandoned in Southeast Asia after the war. According to its website, Magic City’s slate of films includes direct-to-streaming titles Surviving Evil starring Billy Zane and Wake of Death starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Dean died in a car crash at the age of 24 in 1955, so what would he be doing in a movie about a war that started a decade later, centered on events that transpired roughly 20 years after his death? That’s the weirdest part. “James Dean” isn’t playing himself like the historical figures in Forest Gump. Rather he’s been “cast” as a character named Rogan.

“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,” says director Anton Ernst.

At that point, Twitter went full Scanners.

“I’m sure he’d be thrilled,” tweeted Chris Evans. “This is awful. Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. Or write a couple new John Lennon tunes. The complete lack of understanding here is shameful.”


Preacher’s Julie Ann Emery chimed in, “Yeah, that’s not James Dean. It’s his face on a motion capture performance and an ‘anonymous’ actor providing voice pattern and choices. I’d like to know how it will be credited. How the real actors will be paid. And how little this team understands the acting craft.”

Emery also wondered if Dean’s family had given any thought his political views.

“How do Dean’s descendants know that he would WANT to be in a Vietnam movie? That he would support that?”

Bitch Media co-founder Andi Zeisler was bewildered by the : “‘We couldn’t find a non-dead actor for the role of a white guy in a Vietnam war movie’ is truly an amazing take.”

Sci-Fi author John Scalzi, meanwhile, pointed out a technical detail that may ultimately doom this misadventure.

“Fun fact: James Dean won’t be starring in this film because he’s dead, someone will just be playing him with a CGI’d skin, and also there are cheaper ways to get to the uncanny valley if you really want to go there.”

Frighteningly, the New York Daily News’ Kate Feldman points out that the South African F/X company behind the CGI Frankenstein-ing of James Dean has even more nefarious plans for this technology in the future.

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