Iconic Hollywood heartthrob James Dean may have died in 1955, but that’s not going to stop him from making a new movie.
Dean’s legendary screen career ended abruptly – he starred in only three films – when he was killed in a grisly automobile accident, but the actor is set to return to the screen with a posthumous performance in South African filmmaker Anton Ernst’s Vietnam War action-drama, “Finding Jack.”
Dean has reportedly been cast as a “complex” secondary lead role in the film, with his performance to be created via computer animation. Ernst’s movie is based on a novel by Gareth Crocker; and chronicles the efforts of a U.S. armed serviceman searching for his military patrol partner, a yellow Lab named Jack, in the waning days of the Vietnam War.
Producer-director Ernst told the Hollywood Reporter, “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.”
Magic City Films, the movie’s production, obtained the rights to Dean’s image from his family.
Canadian F/X shop Imagine Engine and South African F/X concern MOI Worldwide has been tasked with resurrecting the long-deceased actor on the screen; they issued a press release November 6 expressing their hope to build a “a realistic version of James Dean” using CGI. A company spokesman told the Hollywood Reporter that “new talent” will be used to recreate Dean’s brooding voice.
Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, the agency which represents Dean’s family and life rights among those of many other late celebrities, issued a statement via press sheet saying he hopes to close similar picture deals for other departed members of the CMG roster.
“With the rapidly evolving technology, we see this as a whole new frontier for many of our iconic clients,” Roesler said. “This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us.”
Ernst echoed those sentiments by saying, “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.”
Preproduction on the computer animation for “Finding Jack” begins on Nov. 17, with a scheduled worldwide release date of Veterans Day 2020.