James Dean CGI Film Plans to Bring Actor Back to Life - Comic Years
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James Dean CGI Film Plans to Bring Actor Back to Life

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BY April 27, 2020

It’s 1955, and Hollywood is mourning the loss of promising actor James Dean. I can almost guarantee you nobody at the time was thinking, “maybe if we develop the technology, we can bring him back to the silver screen.” Well, it’s happening, and basically everyone is confused as to why a James Dean CGI film is getting the greenlight. 

James Dean Might Be in a 2020 Movie About Vietnam

The headline listed above sounds like it comes from a clickbait generator. That’s not the case, and in fact, it’s very much a reality. James Dean is famous as a cultural icon, despite a short career. His work in films like East of Eden or Rebel Without a Cause continue to make him a popular actor today, nearly 65 years post mortem. The real interesting thing about James Dean is the question of what could have been. Dean died in a car crash at the young age of 24, and many think he could have been one of the greatest actors ever. Well, it seems like one production company really thinks his presence on the big screen is worth rehashing. 

The project is going to be for a Vietnam War-era film called Finding Jack, based on the novel by Gareth Crocker. Essentially, James Dean’s CGI recreation will be a secondary lead character. The story is about the abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. No word on whether or not the dogs will also be CGI. 

How Do Actors Turn into CGI Creations?

james dean cgi movie Image Credit: Warner Bros.

James Dean CGI film plans are well underway, with Magic City Films ready to make the picture happen. While some big studios worry about superhero films, this company is worried that some actors might not be done acting even after death. It’s not like this is a hypothetical either; pre-production begins next week. The goal is to release the film on Veterans Day next year. So, how are they going to make this a reality? 

James Dean CGI Film Possible Thanks to Family and Technology

First thing’s first: James Dean and his likeness is the property of his family. They’ve given permission to their representation, CMG Worldwide, to use Dean in the film. So, the technology is the next question on many minds. We’ve seen CGI replication done well, such as scenes in Rogue One or even more recently in Scorsese’s The Irishman. It’s not a foreign concept to industry professionals, but many of the examples above are a case of de-aging. This is full recreation we’re talking about here. To be perfectly blunt, it seems a little wrong, or at the very least uncharted.

We’ll see how this one plays out, but the film’s remaining cast isn’t even set yet. Needless to say, we’ll be watching this one closely. 

Comic Years is the go-to place for movies, comic books, and pop culture. Let us know if you think CGI actors who have passed on are worth the work or not!

Featured Image Credit: Warner Bros.


Taylor loves to play video games in his spare time. He has two degrees in Political Communication and wrote his thesis on Marxism and the exploitation of college athletes. In his spare time, he loves spending time with his wife and two Toy Australian Shepherds. He’s always got headphones in, and he’s a diehard Cubs fan.

East of EdenJames DeanWarner Bros.

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