Team behind CGI James Dean form company to resurrect more Hollywood actors

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

James Dean, Lana Turner, Jimmy Stewart

There are times when digital trickery is needed to bring an actor back to life, such as when Paul Walker tragically died mid-way through production on FURIOUS 7, but we seem to be on the cusp of something else entirely as Variety has reported that a new company is aiming to resurrect hundreds of actors, sports legends, and musicians for future multi-media entertainment. Hi, Maya Angelou here for OxiClean!

You might recall when it was announced last week that James Dean, an actor who has been dead for over sixty years, would be taking on a leading role in a Vietnam War movie. "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 FINDING JACK co-director Anton Ernst. "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." Naturally, this idea sparked an immediate backlash, which left the directors feeling "saddened" and "confused," but if you thought that would be the end of the unseemly digital resurrection trade, you'd be wrong. The same team that will be transforming James Dean into a digital specter have formed Worldwide XR, a new company which "aims to bring digital humans to traditional film as well as augmented and virtual reality." In addition to James Dean, Worldwide XR holds and represents the rights of many celebrities and public figures, including Jimmy Stewart, Bettie Page, Burt Reynolds, Andre the Giant, Maya Angelou, Lana Turner, Malcolm X, Neil Armstrong, Rosa Parks, Bette Davis, Christopher Reeve, and more.

In a statement, Worldwide XR CEO Travis Cloyd said, "Influencers will come and go, but legends will never die." Cloyd did admit that "some people dislike it," but promised that the company will "do our due diligence" in making sure any potential partners do the celebrity justice. The company plans to license these digital humans as the subjects of ads, films, virtual reality, and the like.

Worldwide XR wants to not only license celebrities’ likenesses, but also help creatives make use of existing assets as they look to transform them to digital humans. The way this is done depends on both individual projects as well as the recognizability of each celebrity, explained Cloyd. In some cases, creatives may rely solely on computer-generated imagery based on existing photos and films, while other projects may require combining existing assets with the work of look-alike actors.

Travis Cloyd also believes that the digital James Dean has a future beyond the Vietnam War movie. "There is a lot more to come for James Dean," Clody said. "Think of it as James Dean 2.0." I'd rather not.

Source: Variety

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Based in Canada, Kevin Fraser has been a news editor with JoBlo since 2015. When not writing for the site, you can find him indulging in his passion for baking and adding to his increasingly large collection of movies that he can never find the time to watch.