The late James Dean, a motion-picture star of the 1950s, has been posthumously cast in “Finding Jack,” a Vietnam era action-drama set for 2020, and some celebrities aren’t happy.
“Avengers: Endgame” star Chris Evans and “Lord of the Rings” alum Elijah Wood were among the dissenters, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“I’m sure he’d be thrilled,” Evans wrote. “This is 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.”
Added Wood on Twitter: “NOPE. this shouldn’t be a thing.”
Zelda Williams, the daughter of late comedy legend Robin Williams, decried the trend of “hologramming” performers for live events and other projects.
“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 tweeted, according to The Times. “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.”
Grammy winner Diane Warren, who was tapped to write music for “Finding Jack,” the film in which the computer-generated Dean will appear, tweeted that she was “glad they got a living person to write the song.”
Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, and their production house Magic City Films, obtained the rights to use Dean’s image from his family and will work with a couple of visual effects companies to re-create “a realistic version of James Dean” using Computer Generated Imagery from actual footage and photos of the “Rebel Without a Cause” star, the filmmakers told the Hollywood Reporter on Wednesday. But another actor will voice him.
Dean, who died in a 1955 car crash at age 24, appeared in only three feature films: “Rebel Without a Cause,” “East of Eden” and “Giant.” Dean’s family views “Finding Jack” as the fourth movie the actor never got to make. He’ll “play” a secondary character named Rogan in the film.”
“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,” Ernst told the Hollywood Reporter.
The filmmakers said that the family supports them and that they will “take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact.”
Preproduction is set to begin this month, with the goal of release on Veterans Day next year.