Should CGI be used to portray deceased actors in films? | The Tylt
Even though he's been resting in peace for 64 years, former heartthrob James Dean will be featured as a secondary lead role in the upcoming film "Finding Jack." Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh's movie about the some 10,000 dogs abandoned at the end of the Vietnam War will use actual footage and photos of the star from the '50s to construct a "full body" CGI representation. Many are applauding the casting choice, but critics say it's outright disrespectful. What do you think?
Should CGI be used to portray deceased actors in films?
This isn't the first time, after all, that an actor has been posthumously cast in a major Hollywood film (remember Paul Walker in "Furious 7" and Peter Cushing in "Rogue One"), and some industry insiders laud the decision. "This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us," stated Mark Roesler, the CEO of CMG Worldwide, which represents families of celebrities that have passed away, such as Dean's. In fact, Dean's family not only offered "Finding Jack" directors their blessing, but will also consider it their departed loved one's fourth film. Director Anton Ernst asks, “If we aren’t doing anything to hurt James Dean’s image, why are people pushing back?” If the family and estate of the actor being portrayed offer consent, then why shouldn't the legacy of these talented performers continue on the big screen?
Backlash from some of Hollywood's A-list was swift following the announcement around the CGI Dean casting. Captain America (Chris Evans) himself took to Twitter saying, "I'm sure he'd be thrilled," followed by an eye-rolling emoji. Actor Elijah Wood also spoke out, tweeting "NOPE. This shouldn't be a thing." Critics maintain that these CGI likenesses are nothing more than greedy marketing stunts, and they are disrespectful to the deceased. Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams, also weighed in on the conversation: "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. 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." Let the departed rest in peace and their legacy speak for themselves.