Chris Evans, Elijah Wood criticise decision to revive James Dean via CGI for new movie role

Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin Williams, has also spoken out

News that the late James Dean will be ‘revived’ via CGI for a new movie role has sparked outcry from actors like Chris Evans, Elijah Wood and Zelda Williams, who is also the daughter of the late Robin Williams.

Earlier this week, news broke that the screen icon who died in 1955 will be ‘resurrected’ via CGI for a role in the movie Finding Jack, an adaptation of Gareth Crocker’s novel of the same name that concerns canine units that were used in the Vietnam War.

Dean’s family has approved the “full-body” recreation of the actor with CGI, based on footage and photos of him. Another actor will voice Dean’s character. Pre-production on Finding Jack is due to begin this month, with a slated worldwide release on November 11, 2020.

Despite co-director Anton Ernst’s promise that he and directing partner Tati Golykh “will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact”, actors including Chris Evans and Elijah Wood criticised the move on social media.

“I’m sure [Dean would] be thrilled,” Marvel’s Captain America star Evans wrote on Twitter, adding an eye-rolling emoji. “This is awful. Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. Or write a couple of John Lennon tunes. The complete lack of understanding here is shameful.”

Elijah Wood also chimed in, simply tweeting: “NOPE. this shouldn’t be a thing.”

Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late actor and comedian Robin Williams, expressed her disapproval in a series of tweets. “I have talked to friends about this for YEARS and no one ever believed me that the industry would stoop this low once tech got better,” she wrote in a first message. “Publicity stunt or not, this is puppeteering the dead for their ‘clout’ alone and it sets such an awful precedent for the future of performance.”

In a later tweet, she described the move to revive Dean as a CGI character as “bad taste & a bad call”. She continued, “What’s to stop a pharma from resurrecting Chaplin to sell pills, or casting Bacall in a bad action flick?”

In a reply to a Twitter user, she further explained that her family had “secured” her father Robin Williams’ likeness such that “no one would be ‘resurrecting’ him for a bad facsimile.” In another tweet, she added, “Our estate got no say in an actor portraying dad in an unauthorized biopic. We DO get a say in that no one is hologramming him onto a stage and making him perform as if he isnt gone.”

Williams’ will reportedly prevented Disney from using his outtakes from Aladdin for a future sequel. A former Mouse House executive claimed there was more than enough material for a new movie, but Williams’ bars Disney from using his name or voice recordings for 25 years after his death.