James Dean is making a posthumous return to the big screen. Magic City Films announced last week that a CGI recreation of Dean will star in the upcoming Vietnam War-era action-drama Finding Jack. The announcement came under immediate criticism, including from Captain America star Chris Evans. Now the producers of the film are defending the move by saying Dean's family supports it. "The family has read the script and has been fully supportive," Donal A. Barton tells Variety. "We felt that using James Dean would be an excellent way to convey this character." Dean's likeness will appear in an estimated 30% to 40% of the new movie.
Finding Jack is an adaptation of Gareth Crocker's novel fo the same name. It is based on the story of 10,000 canine units abandoned at the end of the Vietnam War. It follows a depressed man whose spirit is uplifted by an injured yellow Lab. The film is produced and directed by Anton Ernst and Tatit Golykh.
"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," Ernst said in a statement. "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."
"This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us," said Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide. CMG represents Dean's family.
Candian VFX studio Imagine Engine and South African VFX studio MOI Worldwide will recreate Dean's likeness for the film. He will be voiced by another actor.
"Our partners in South Africa are very excited about this, as this technology would also be employed down the line to re-create historical icons such as Nelson Mandela to tell stories of cultural heritage significance," Ernst said. Barton added, "Now that we have closed with this iconic figure, we look forward to rapidly closing our remaining actors."
What do you think of CGI James Dean in Finding Jack? Let us know in the comments.
Pre-production on Finding Jack is expected to begin on November 17th. The film is aiming for release on Veterans' Day, November 11, 2020.
Image via Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images