James Dean's CGI Casting Faces Major Backlash

James Dean's CGI Casting Faces Major Backlash

The late Hollywood icon's digital recreation is garnering an overwhelmingly negative response.

The late Hollywood icon's digital recreation is garnering an overwhelmingly negative response.

Text: Dylan Kelly

Magic City Films announced the CGI casting of James Dean in their upcoming film Finding Jack yesterday, and fans are upset with the agency’s plans to cyber-mimic the great actor’s signature flair. Although the studio’s directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh received permission from the Dean family to proceed with the film’s production, an element of the late actor’s virtual resurrection is not sitting well with viewers across the world. Largely fueling the backlash, Hollywood’s elite are speaking out in refute of the Rebel Without A Cause actor’s digital revitalization and expressing their disgust towards the agency’s lack of respect for dramatic artistry. 

Leading the revolt, Chris Evans took to Twitter to express his ill feelings towards the team’s evident ignorance, writing, “I’m sure he’d be thrilled. This is awful. Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. Or write a couple of new John Lennon tunes. The complete lack of understanding here is shameful.” Shedding light on the directors’ disregard for Dean’s individual creative expression, Evans illustrates his distaste by comparing the late actor’s CGI recreation to the idea of digitally vivifying the work of history’s most talented artists and musicians. 

With the same discord, Zelda Williams, whose late father Robin Williams implemented restrictive measures to preserve his image after his death, expressed her disappointment in the industry’s new direction. “I have talked to friends about this for YEARS and no one ever believed me that the industry would stoop this low once tech got better,” she wrote on Twitter. “Publicity stunt or not, this is puppeteering the dead for their ‘clout’ alone and it sets such an awful precedent for the future of performance.” 

Adding flames to the fire, Preacher star Julie Ann Emery expressed her aversion to the casting in a verbal deconstruction of Dean’s falsified resurrection and an attack on the team’s disrespect for the art of drama. “Yeah, that’s not James Dean,” she wrote. “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 real actors will be paid. And how little this team understands the acting craft.”

Winning two Oscars for Best Actor in his unfortunately cut-short career, James Dean perfected his acting craft through his unmatched commitment to roles and his exploration of self-expression in new realms. In an effort to pay respect to the renowned actor’s supreme abilities, Magic City Films missed the mark on the execution of their idea. Preproduction is set to commence on November 17 for the new film; however, with the level of negative reception to the idea, the status of Finding Jack remains unknown.

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