Last week, news broke that James Dean, the young actor who died in 1955, had been cast in an upcoming Vietnam War movie titled Finding Jack. How? With the use of advanced digital effects not unlike those used in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story — as well as the fact that the company doing said effects has obtained the rights to Dean’s likeness from his estate. Many in Hollywood (and elsewhere) were not too thrilled by the news, but it seems things are moving forward nonetheless. In fact, Dean isn’t the only long-dead actor who might be brought back.
The Hollywood Reporter initially indicated that Worldwide XR, the company behind Dean’s forthcoming CGI resurrection, has the rights to “more than 1,700 entertainment, sports, music, and historical personalities, including the likes of Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis, and Jack Lemmon.” Well, according to Variety, that’s not simply a statement of fact, as Worldwide XR wants to employ as many of these licensed personalities as possible. “Influencers will come and go,” Worldwide XR CEO Travis Cloyd, “but legends will never die.”
“It’s disruptive,” acknowledged Cloyd. “Some people dislike it.” However, he argued that the emergence of digital humans was inevitable, and promised that his company would vet any potential partners to make sure that they would do the celebrity in question justice. “We will do our due diligence,” he said.
Cloyd added that he was most excited about the potential to resurrect celebrities in augmented and virtual reality, where they could more directly interact with the viewer. And he suggested that we may get to see Dean even beyond the Vietnam war movie. “There is a lot more to come for James Dean,” he said. “Think of it as James Dean 2.0.”
So, this is totally fine and cool and normal and not at all a sign of the ongoing #content dystopia.