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posted by Fnord666 on Monday November 11 2019, @11:37AM   Printer-friendly
from the stroll-through-the-uncanny-valley dept.

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1337

James Dean, who died in 1955, just landed a new movie role, thanks to CGI

James Dean is making his return to the big screen more than 60 years after dying in a car crash, thanks to two VFX companies.

Finding Jack is a movie set within the Vietnam-era that is "based on the existence and abandonment of more than 10,000 military dogs at the end of the Vietnam War," according to The Hollywood Reporter. Dean isn't the leading role, but his performance as "Rogan" is "considered a secondary lead role," according to the Reporter. Finding Jack marks the first movie that Dean will star in since Giant in 1956, just one year after his iconic role as Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause.

Magic City Films, the company producing the movie, obtained the rights to Dean's image from his family. The goal is to re-create "a realistic version of James Dean," the film's directors told the Reporter. To do so, they're working with Canadian VFX studio Imagine Engine and South African VFX company MOI Worldwide. Dean's body will be fully re-created using CGI technology, and another actor will voice his lines.


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gtomorrow on Monday November 11 2019, @02:55PM (8 children)

    by gtomorrow (2230) on Monday November 11 2019, @02:55PM (#918948) Journal

    After reading the (mostly) amusing banter here, no one has even touched the question...

    Why?

    It's not as if James Dean's digital-or-otherwise presence is even remotely integral to the plot mentioned in TFS. It's a Vietnam-era story, roughly 10-12 years after his death. And iconic as Dean was, is he still considered as iconic today as he was during the, say, '80s? Would the movie-going public of 2019 even know who James Dean was?

    Other than a perverse, necrophilic angle or a base lucrative angle on the part of the family, what's the point? Is Hollywood suffering a James Dean-type actor shortage?

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Monday November 11 2019, @03:25PM (1 child)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Monday November 11 2019, @03:25PM (#918957) Journal

    Why not?

    Here's what you will see in the future: virtual actors animated, rendered, and voiced using desktop/workstation grade equipment. This could involve a blend of several living/dead actors or actresses, or any living or dead individual.

    Ask yourself why any particular actor gets a role. Why use Jason Statham, Morgan Freeman, Scarlett Johansson, etc.? Are these people the best for the job? The choice might be about talent or compatibility with a particular role, but it's often about building hype.

    There's some speculation in TFA about the choice of Jimmy Dean. It's probably a gimmick, as you suspect. As for the movie-going public appreciating this choice, I suspect that a movie about Vietnam military dogs is going to appeal towards the nursing home crowd, so that could help. Otherwise, it is still early for this gimmick and it makes headlines each time a dead actor is resurrected.

    The family has been paid for this abomination, but by looking at the deepfake and piracy 🏴‍☠️ trends, we can see that people will eventually be violating "dead personality rights" or whatever and uploading the results for anyone to stream or download. No sacred corpses.

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    • (Score: 2) by OrugTor on Monday November 11 2019, @05:41PM

      by OrugTor (5147) Subscriber Badge on Monday November 11 2019, @05:41PM (#918992)

      "River of Gods" - Ian McDonald.
      The endgame is 100% synthetic actors. You want Morgan Freeman's gravitas and Chris Pine's appeal for the part of 20-year-old Barak Obama. What to do? Cast one of your stable of synthetic actors, doesn't matter which, tweak the parameters for gravitas/appeal and the rest is just a skin.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 11 2019, @05:21PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 11 2019, @05:21PM (#918987)

    Why?

    Boomer nostalgia.. Come to think of it, so is all that Marvel shit...

    Can we get a CGI Reagan?

  • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Monday November 11 2019, @06:28PM

    by fyngyrz (6567) on Monday November 11 2019, @06:28PM (#918997) Journal

    Why?

    It's not as if James Dean's digital-or-otherwise presence is even remotely integral to the plot mentioned in TFS.

    Somewhat cynically, I suspect they're testing the water for movies with most- or all-synthetic casts; they start with a known person so as to give it the flavor of something with integral value in and of itself; they see how the public responds to the virtual person; and if that works out, they begin to move to synthetics (and away from paying actors.)

    The advantages are clear, if they can pull it off: Not only do they save a popular actor's salary, but they can make the person as handsome, beautiful, evil, etc. as they choose.

    They might have to start with people miving around with animation targets to be mapped-to-other later to get that "live" feel, but I don't think it'll be too far down the road before those motions will be amalgamated into detailed enough ML form to dispense with that as well.

    CGI has come a long way, and I'm pretty sure that if they can use it to make their... craft... less expensive and more flexible, they will.

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  • (Score: 2) by Runaway1956 on Tuesday November 12 2019, @03:00PM (1 child)

    by Runaway1956 (2926) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday November 12 2019, @03:00PM (#919398) Homepage Journal

    Actors and actresses are kinda funny. They think they should be paid for acting. With more experience, and more exposure, they demand ever more money for acting. The ghost in the machine doesn't know or care about money.

    --
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    • (Score: 2) by gtomorrow on Tuesday November 12 2019, @05:58PM

      by gtomorrow (2230) on Tuesday November 12 2019, @05:58PM (#919483) Journal

      If you're gonna put it like that, so is programming. It's just chaining one command after another in a logical order. Monkey work, really.