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Don Draper

James Dean reborn in CGI for Vietnam War drama

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The cultural icon, who died in 1955, will return to the screen via CGI using actual footage and photos for 'Finding Jack.'

James Dean, who died in a 1955 car crash at the age of 24, is making an unexpected return to the big screen.

The cultural icon, known for Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden, has been posthumously cast in the Vietnam era action-drama Finding Jack. 

Directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh, the project comes from the filmmakers' own recently launched production house Magic City Films, which obtained the rights to use Dean‚Äôs image from his family. Canadian VFX banner Imagine Engine will be working alongside South African VFX company MOI Worldwide to re-create what the filmmakers describe as ‚Äúa realistic version of James Dean.‚ÄĚ

Adapted by Maria Sova from Gareth Crocker’s novel, Finding Jack is based on the existence and abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War. Dean will play a character called Rogan, considered a secondary lead role. 

"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," said Ernst, who also produces with Golykh for Magic City Films alongside Donald A. Barton of Artistry Media Group.

"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."

While Finding Jack will be live action, The Hollywood Reporter understands that Dean’s performance will be constructed via "full body" CGI using actual footage and photos. Another actor will voice him.

Multiple Oscar nominated songwriter Diane Warren wrote the key song for the film and acclaimed composer Laurent Eyquem is on board to score the film.

Preproduction on Finding Jack starts Nov. 17, with a goal for a worldwide release on Veterans Day 2020. Magic City Films is handling the foreign sales.

The filmmakers are now hoping that the CGI technology used to bring Dean back to life onscreen could soon be deployed on other well-known figures.

"This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us," said Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, which represents Dean’s family alongside more than 1,700 entertainment, sports, music and historical personalities, including the likes of Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis and Jack Lemmon. 

Added Ernst: "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."

Barton added: "Now that we have closed with this iconic figure, we look forward to rapidly closing our remaining actors."

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/afm-james-dean-reborn-cgi-vietnam-war-action-drama-1252703

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"This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us," said Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide, which represents Dean’s family alongside more than 1,700 entertainment, sports, music and historical personalities, including the likes of Burt Reynolds, Christopher Reeve, Ingrid Bergman, Neil Armstrong, Bette Davis and Jack Lemmon. 

The live action vanity project reboots of old films and TV shows are enough, stop this man.

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2 minutes ago, Don Draper said:

The live action vanity project reboots of old films and TV shows are enough, stop this man.

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Them rebooting souls, I have to yell. River Phoenix about to be cast in the remake of Twilight

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4 minutes ago, Mariah. said:

Them rebooting souls, I have to yell. River Phoenix about to be cast in the remake of Twilight

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I’m gonna cackle when they do all that motion capture only to serve some Cats-level stiff animation to voiceovers that sound nothing like them.

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21 minutes ago, Don Draper said:

The cultural icon, who died in 1955, will return to the screen

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who knew there was a market for making films exclusively for boomers

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I also am cackling at the thought of a studio worrying about representing their "clients" who are dead when there are plenty of average-looking blue-eyed boys sitting in Hollywood who are probably banging on the door for a film role

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2 hours ago, Mariah. said:

Them rebooting souls, I have to yell. River Phoenix about to be cast in the remake of Twilight

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They better not put Legend in that Trilogy. 

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Why are they taking jobs from could be up and coming actors????

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Ernst ‚Äúshocked‚ÄĚ by the backlash. Anyways

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"We don't really understand it. We never intended for this to be a marketing gimmick," director Anton Ernst tells The Hollywood Reporter in response to negative criticism on Dean's posthumous casting.

How does one pursue casting an actor posthumously ‚ÄĒ specifically James Dean, who died nearly seven decades ago in a car crash at the age of 24?

Director Anton Ernst, who along with co-director Tati Golykh announced Wednesday that their Vietnam War-era drama Finding Jack will feature the late actor as a prominent character, believes the key to the whole process is "respect."

Finding Jack, the first project from the filmmaker's recently launched Magic City Films company, tells the story of an American soldier, Fletcher, who, after losing his wife, travels to Vietnam and befriends a war dog that saves his life. Dean, who died before the start of the Vietnam War, will play a secondary lead in the film named Rogan. 

Social media backlash has followed the announcement. Actor Chris Evans criticized the decision as "shameful" and Zelda Williams, whose late father Robin Williams restricted exploitation of his image for 25 years following his death, expressed her disdain over the choice. "It sets such an awful precedent for the future of performance," she wrote on Twitter. 

Ernst spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the criticisms on social media, saying he was "saddened" and "confused" over the overwhelmingly negative comments. "We don't really understand it. We never intended for this to be a marketing gimmick," he said.

When searching for an actor to play Rogan, Ernst said he and his co-director did audition live actors. They ultimately decided Dean was the perfect fit for the role, as Rogan is a "very brilliant, complex character" which is "pretty much how James Dean was perceived."

"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 THR following the announcement. 

Magic City Films obtained the rights to use Dean's image from his living relatives, represented by CMG Worldwide. Dean's name and likeness have been used in several advertising and merchandise campaigns over the years, including those of Dolce & Gabbana, Allure Eyewear, H&M and Jose Cuervo. Ernst said that Dean's estate, which is run by two cousins on the late actor's father's side, has been "supportive" of the film and believes they would not have expected such a backlash to occur.

"I think they would have wanted their family member's legacy to live on. That's what we've done here as well. We've brought a whole new generation of filmgoers to be aware of James Dean," said Ernst.  

The movie, adapted by Mari Sova from Gareth Crocker’s novel, is set against the backdrop of the end of the Vietnam War, with the script highlighting how more than 10,000 military dogs were abandoned when the conflict ended.

"At the end of the day, what we really want people to know is the movie is about love and friendship, the veterans that served in the Vietnam War and especially the dogs that were with them," Ernst told THR. "We never want to lose that emphasis and this [social media reaction] becomes a distraction of what the story is about."

Without providing specific names, Ernst shared that he has received "positive feedback" on both his script and Dean's casting from those in the industry. As for the actor's family, the director previously told THR how honored he feels for them to be on board with the project: "We 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."

Canadian VFX banner Imagine Engine will be working alongside South African VFX company MOI Worldwide to re-create Dean. The actor will be constructed via "full body" CGI using archival footage and photos, while another actor will voice him. 

"Visual effects is a tool," Ernst said, pointing to movies that use digital effects to de-age actors, such as The Irishman, or help finish a production in the case of an untimely death of a star, such as Carrie Fisher.

When discussing whether resurrecting Dean digitally crosses a line with regards to posthumous casting, Ernst explained, "Anyone that is brought back to life ‚ÄĒ you have to respect them." He noted Fisher's posthumous appearances in the¬†Star Wars¬†franchise, saying that if the actress had expressed never wanting to be in a film after her death, or if her legacy or that of the franchise could be "tarnished" because of her casting, "then that should be a line."

"I think the line should be ... you must always honor the deceased's wishes and try to act in a way that is honorable and full of dignity," Ernst said. 

And when asked how Dean and his living on-set counterpart will be credited, Ernst said they have not come to a decision just yet. 

Preproduction on Finding Jack is set to begin Nov. 17, with a goal for a worldwide release on Nov. 11, 2020, Veterans' Day. 

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/director-new-james-dean-movie-speaks-backlash-stars-casting-1253232?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

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Marilyn Monroe is going to slay as Emma Frost 

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