'Resurrecting' actors

MoominAhoy

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I read an article this morning (which you can also read here) and the directors for Vietnam war-era, Finding Jack are planning to use James Dean's likeness and CGI to have him essentially star in the movie. They'll be using old footage and photos etc to achieve this and say it will be the fourth movie he never got to make. The article states that his family have given permission for this.

Hollywood are hoping this will pave the way to 'resurrect' more deceased legends but there has been a lot of backlash.

On the one hand, people say that this has been done with musical artists so what's the problem and the family has given their consent after all. Others say that James Dean himself obviously hasn't consented however and that we should let the deceased rest instead of veering towards a cash-grabbing stunt.

How are we all feeling about this? I personally wonder who picks up the wages in these cases, aside from the voice actor.
 

Foxbat

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I remember the War Of The Worlds musical where they had a screen of a CGI Richard Burton over the stage to provide the narration. In this case, Burton did the narration for the original recordings so an argument can be made for using him here. In the case of dead actors simply being generated to use in new movies, it's not something I would spend money on. I would imagine the payment would go to the estate of that particular actor (to help keep his/her less talented relatives in a financial manner to which they've become accustomed).
 

CupofJoe

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Who ever controls the estate of the dead actor will want a share and the family, if that is different for the Estate owner. So will the Studio that made them famous, if they reach back and start re-creating Cary Grant or Greta Garbo. I look forward to a lot of lawsuits...
I can't see the point of recreating unless it is novelty. You might be able to make something look like James Dean and even sound like him, but it won't act like him. At best it will look like an impersonation. It will be the Jurassic Park dinosaurs for film actors.
 

Elckerlyc

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I know this has been done before, though can't recall which movie. In this case an actor had died while they were still shooting the film. His role was then taken by his brother. They used CGI to alter the face of the brother/actor. All in good agreement with the family.
I heard about this at the Worldcon Dublin where someone from WETA studios used it as an example to show what they could do technically nowadays. I have no problem with that.
The case with James Dean seems different to me. It seems distasteful, pointless and basically an insult to any young, living and willing actor. And why? What made James Dean famous, his looks or his acting? You can impose his looks on any actor with CGI, but what about the acting? You can't copy that. If it is just about his looks, it really is tasteless. But Hollywood (and Dean's family) no doubt smell money. And when it's about money, decency and common sense are the first to perish.
 

Finch

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Actors dying when shooting a film is surprisingly common. Heath Ledger , Oliver Reed and Bruce Lee , to name a few . I don't understand what is happening in the film industry . It seems to have lost it's creativity. Relying on technology and remakes .To reanimate a long dead actor is in line with current film making attitudes.
 
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Foxbat

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Actors dying when shooting a film is surprisingly common. Heath Ledger , Oliver Reed and Bruce Lee , to name a few . I don't understand what is happening in the film industry . It seems to have lost it's creativity. Relying on technology and remakes .To reanimate a long dead actor is in line with current film making attitudes.
I remember a period when surround sound became the norm in the home and everybody pushed up the values of their rear speakers and thought it was great to hear all that noise around them. What they were getting in reality was an unbalanced and unrepresentative sound mishmash. Film is going through something similar with CGI at the moment. They're pushing those metaphorical rears all the way up just because they're there.

I live in hope that in the coming years, the art of subtlety and balance will return to the film industry. With that should come some creativity:)
 

olive

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People said, he can't give consent? LOL, I snorted. The emotions, thoughts, feelings... regarding dead people are about the living ones. They don't exist anymore. I can see people making head lines by just making comments on this.

The idea stands on his early demise and the imagination at work that he would have done a lot of great movies, which people would have loved to this day and cherish. The emphasis is on 'the movie he never got to make'. Organic play of making fans feel as if he is given another chance.

Well, just the so called 'controversial' idea will create camps and make people watch. Other than that I don't see it going on more than one shot. But it is a clever way to make money from fan disputes. If this catches on, you can bet we'll read tons of comments on how would some long dead actors actually act, behave, talk, portray react to this or that and 20 years after it is history.

Evil. I bow to you Hollywood. And shiver with fear in my mortal coil.
 

olive

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If this becomes a real thing, maybe they would make copyright laws specific to it. For example, 100 years after an actor's death, the copyright ends and he belongs to everyone to make movies with his image. That would carry the fanfiction culture to a completely different level. Not the mention the concept of anachronism sometime in the future.

Oh and there is advertisement business, political campaigns... etc. Everything is possible. Dead actors in Super Bowl commercials? As Self help inspirations? Imagine John Wayne or Marlon Brando in some pua video. LOL What a mess.

CupofJoe is right. It looks like a huge new golden mine for law suits.
 

Overread

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Don't forget people have been impersonating Elivs for years. This is just the same sort of thing just using digital instead of make-up and acting.
 

Star-child

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Fake people are just the newest media habit that substitutes uncannily unrealistic fake reality for higher quality alternatives. It seems like people used to pre-CGI special effects find CGI to often be clumsy and obvious, while people who grew up with it claim they can't tell the difference between models and computer. The overall effect is that exposure to the fake lighting and inaccurate physics of CGI seems to make people less sensitive and discerning. The same thing happened with HDTV and CDs - the finest visual and audio quality playback ever, but younger people seem happy with lo-fi MP3 and watching movies on a phone. Fake people on screen just normalizes yet another break from reality.
 

Foxbat

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I wonder how many folk would watch CGI copies of their favourite actors and accept it being not the real thing but would insist on only wearing brand clothing and wouldn't be happy with cheap copies?
 

CupofJoe

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I wonder how many folk would watch CGI copies of their favourite actors and accept it being not the real thing but would insist on only wearing brand clothing and wouldn't be happy with cheap copies?
But the knock-off re-imagined actors will be marketed as the real thing. It isn't A CGI likeness of James Dean in a new film that is being pushed. It is James Dean in a new film. I can see this being the 3D for the 2020s. Some people will love it, most won't care and some will hate it but eventually it will become less and less a feature to sell the film.
For me, the crucial point will be when it is cheaper to CGI in a James Dean rather than hiring a living actor to play the role. I can see the Acting unions going crazy bananas over that one.
What will happen when a studio doesn't want to pay Robert Downey jr $40m for the lead but can CGI in a [not quite] RDJ for $5m?
 

Vince W

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This will all lead to studios eliminating actors altogether and use computer-generated puppet characters with limited autonomy based on whatever the twitterhole thinks is hot that week.
 

Overread

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tinkerdan

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Much better--more likely--will be the day you pay extra at the theater and they scan your face and put you in on the fly as an extra in the film.
The home version you can star in any film you want.

Or--more likely--just as Alfred Hitchcock put tombstones of his critics in cemetery scenes; you can put all your favorite people into the role of those killed throughout your favorite horror film.

I can see this as being a sale point, in the near future of home theater.

Are you ready to play?
 

Stephen Palmer

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This is just one spin-off of the deep fakes AI construction world, which personally I find incredibly worrying.
In our lifetimes, we'll be in an environment where what we see on a screen can't be distinguished from reality. How will that make us react to "real reality"? We're facing in my opinion a very dangerous time in our virtual lives. Yes, it's exciting and maybe even fun with film actors, but that's just the media-friendly tip of the iceberg.
(Sorry to bring the mood down!)
 

Stephen Palmer

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This will all lead to studios eliminating actors altogether and use computer-generated puppet characters with limited autonomy based on whatever the twitterhole thinks is hot that week.
I agree with this. The possibilities for exploitation are huge. Again, we see AI causing unemployment in a sector as it lays waste to what we know.
 
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