CGI James Dean?
Last week, news came out that a new movie, Finding Jack, will feature a digitally recreated James Dean. This news comes with a plan by two companies to join forces and resurrect deceased actors and celebrities for the big screen. CMG Worldwide, a management consulting company known for its impressive roster of celebrities, will combine with content creation company Observe Media to form Worldwide XR. The new company will bring digital humans to the screen using CGI restoration.
The news about Finding Jack and the future of CGI actors is facing backlash, especially from other actors. It’s bad enough they have to compete with living talent, but now actors will fight for roles with the dead. Bette Middler, Chris Evans, and Elijah Wood have expressed their discontent with the concept they believe to be “exploitative” and “undignified.” The technology is suppressing the creativity that goes into portraying a role. Why go through the stress of creating all new emotions, movements, and expressions for a CGI when a live actor could do all of it naturally? The industry is concerned that directors will start relying on using CGI actors to fulfill their visions and that it could bring about legal issues.
Worldwide XR sees their concept as “The future, this is where technology has led us.” The roster they already have includes 400 high profile celebrities, meaning that we can expect to see Bette Davis, Andre The Giant, Chuck Berry, and even Maya Angelou in CGI form soon enough. The company plans to expand their digital resurrections further than just TV, possibly using them for virtual reality experiences, museums, and more. The idea is still controversial, but Finding Jack will be our first look into the future.
By Sonja Grunfeld