James Dean fans are not happy that he will appear in a new movie more than six decades after his death. Dean — who was known for the 1950s movies East of Eden, Rebel Without a Cause, and Giant — will be "resurrected" via CGI to play a character named Rogan in the upcoming Vietnam-era drama Finding Jack. The casting news has sparked major backlash on social media from fans and modern-day actors.
At the height of his fame, Dean died in a 1955 car crash at age 24 with only three movie credits to his name. For Finding Jack, Dean's likeness will be revived using archival footage and photos, and a new actor will provide his voice, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Finding Jack director Anton Ernst told THR the makers of the film "searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan" and decided on a CGI version of James Dean after extensive research.
It didn't take long for fellow actors and fans to express outrage over the unusual casting decision for the film, which is based on the true story of abandoned canine units at the end of the Vietnam War.
"NOPE. This shouldn't be a thing," actor Elijah Wood wrote of Dean's new role in a post on Twitter.
Actor Chris Evans called the unconventional casting move "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," he tweeted.
Other movie fans took to social media to weigh in on the stunning casting news of a CGI James Dean. Many commenters objected to the film using Dean's likeness instead of a working actor. Others noted that this could be the start of a troubling trend.While movie fans are outraged, Dean's family reportedly supports the project. Ernst told THR the Dean family views Finding Jack as the late Oscar nominee's "fourth movie" that he never got to make.Recreations using computer-generated imagery have caused controversy in the past. In 2015, a CGI version of the late Paul Walker was used in the movie Furious 7. Walker had not completed filming the movie when he died in 2013, so his part was completed using stand-ins and CGI.
In addition, holographic projections of late stars such as Tupac Shakur have not always been well-received, but it's a trend that seems to be sticking. A Whitney Houston hologram tour was recently announced, per Rolling Stone.
Finding Jack is expected to be released on Veterans Day 2020.