James Dean will appear in the upcoming Vietnam War movie, Finding Jack. The film icon is known for movies such as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant, and East of Eden. But that’s the problem: it’s literally just those three since the actor died in a car crash in 1955 at age 24.
As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, James Dean has been cast in the secondary lead role. Finding Jack is based on Gareth Crocker’s novel, which focuses on the abandonment of 10,000 military dogs after the Vietnam War. It will be directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, who are both making their directorial debut. Their own production company, Magic City Films, will produce the film. The company recently acquired the rights to Dean’s image from his family after settling on him for the role. Ernst had this to say:
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. 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.”
As far as the visual effects go, Canada-based Image Engine (Game of Thrones) will create the CGI Dean. South African VFX Company MOI Worldwide will assist. Another actor will voice him. CMG Worldwide represents Dean’s family, as well as other deceased celebrities like Christopher Reeve and Burt Reynolds. CEO Mark Roesler expressed excitement for the project, stating that it “opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us.”
Of course, this isn’t the first time this has occurred. Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, still “reprised” his Star Wars role in 2016’s Rogue One. But it does bring up a lot of questions. When is it okay to recreate an actor for a role? Does the support of the Dean family make it okay?
While the intentions sound good, this casting has also been met with fair criticism. Chris Evans and Elijah Wood have already voiced their negative opinions on the matter. It could set a precedent for film studios to make money off of deceased actors, which is understandably unsettling.
Finding Jack enters preproduction this month with a release date of Veteran’s Day, 2020.