When the news recently broke that James Dean was to be brought back from the grave to star in a new movie called ‘Finding Jack’, social media outlets such as Twitter exploded with strong opinions from fans everywhere.

For the most part, opinion seemed to condemn such exploitation as being in bad taste.

However, some fans expressed excitement at seeing their favorite celebrity back on the screen for the first time in nearly 7 decades.

With Hollywood film productions increasingly relying on CGI to improve actors’ performances by adding tears, smiles, and other facial gestures, as well as ‘deaging’ them, is it now right to use deceased actors in films?

The Story So Far

The advent of computers changed the world we live in.

Today, we all rely on computer technology, whether it is for smartphones, online banking, or watching our favorite short movies on Sofy.tv.


Computers have also revolutionized the movie industry.

The advent of Computer Generated Images or CGI by companies such as Lucas Film has allowed filmmakers too dramatically enhance the scope of the images we saw on screen.

No longer do movie productions have to use expensive and often unrealistic looking models, instead, they can generate images on a computer.

While earlier CGI looked poor and unrealistic, giant leaps allowed for the creation of amazing new special effects such as the liquid metal Terminator featured in James Cameron’s Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

This technology advanced so quickly that it was not long until entire movies were being created on computers.

James Cameron’s Avatar and Pixar’s Toy Story 2 are just two examples of highly popular movies that were created solely by CGI.

In the last decade, the technology has advanced sufficiently that actors’ performances could be enhanced or changed via CGI.

Though this is still a very controversial topic, the technology allowed for a young Princess Leia to be featured in Star Wars: Rogue One, something that would have been impossible without it.

Today, very few action movies not in some way enhanced with CGI.

Read Also

A Giant Leap For CGI

While movies on adverts such as The Ford Puma ad featuring Steve McQueen have been commonplace for the last decade or so, the idea that deceased actors or actresses would take a lead role in a movie has only just arisen.

Finding Jack, an adaptation of Garth Croakers novel by the same name, is a story about a group of people who tried to help rescue 10,000 dogs at the end of the Vietnam War.

Quite why the director decided to include a CGI James Dean, when so many actors could have played the role, is not known.

It is likely that the production made this decision purely on the basis of the publicity it would generate for the movie.

If this is the case it’s a sad exploitation of James Dean’s legacy.

What is most amazing is that the company behind this production, CGM worldwide, owns the rights to Dean’s image at all.

More amazingly, they currently own the rights to over 400 celebrities that includes Burt Reynolds, Malcolm X, Maya Angelou, Audrey the Giant, and Bettie Page.

It seems certain that as these companies begin to produce more and more films using these actors.

Given that many will be of poor quality, a new debate will arise regarding whether or not they should be allowed to feature these people at all.

To prevent such exploitation would require the estate of each of the deceased to assess each production on a case by case basis.

Rather than introducing a lengthy process whereby inexperienced estates try to assess each film on their own, the ideal solution is the intervention of big data analytics companies such as Largo, which has the power to assess films in detail.

These data-driven moviemaking companies would be able to analyze scripts in detail and assess all aspects of the production to ensure that they conformed to the required standards.

This would ensure that the stars only appeared in movies that match their existing reputation and portfolios.

For the most part, fans would approve of seeing their favorite deceased celebrities appear in movies of good quality, so this would certainly negate much of the issue surrounding the exploitation of dead celebrities.

However, this would not answer the concerns of all critics and fans.

The question of whether it is right to use dead celebrities in modern movie productions ultimately can only be answered by each fan individually.

While it is possible for living celebrities to give their endorsement on whether or not their image could be used in future productions after they have died, for celebrities who’ve already passed, this is not an option.

Ultimately, the use of dead celebrities is an issue that is only going to grow year on year.

The worldwide reception to Finding Jack will give a good indication as to where audiences stand at the current time.

Since the movie it’s not likely to be a critical triumph, it is most likely that the current hostile reception will only grow when fans get to see the film.

Read Also

For the most part, however, Hollywood has so far used CGI to bring back dead celebrities to the delight of fans.

One example was the final Fast and Furious movie to feature Paul Walker, who died during its production.

It was regarded as a triumph by fans throughout the world since it offered them the chance to say goodbye.

However, with the news that Paul Walker is set to be resurrected for the latest Fast And Furious movie, we will soon find out if fans think that this is a bridge too far.

What is clear is that the industry is certainly going to take advantage of this technology to try to resurrect the careers of the popular deceased actors and actresses.

Only time will tell how audiences come to accept seeing dead celebrities on screen.