Directors of planned James Dean CGI movie claim they 'don't understand' backlash

Ben Arnold
Contributor
Actor James Dean on the set of the movie Giant in October 1955 in Marfa, Texas. (Credit: Richard C. Miller/Donaldson Collection/Getty Images)

The directors of a new movie which plans to bring James Dean back from the dead using CGI have claimed that they 'don't understand' the backlash against it.

Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh revealed this week that after securing the rights to the late actor's image, they plan to 'cast' him in Vietnam-era drama Finding Jack, about the thousands of military dogs that were abandoned at the end of the war.

Read more: Chris Evans leads James Dean movie backlash

But the backlash has been swift and merciless.

Captain America star Chris Evans was among those leading the charge, while the likes of Elijah Wood and Zelda Williams, Robin Williams' daughter, also voiced their objections.

Evans called the move 'shameful'.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Ernst said he's 'saddened and confused' by the criticism.

“We don't really understand it. We never intended for this to be a marketing gimmick,” he said.

“At the end of the day, what we really want people to know is the movie is about love and friendship, the veterans that served in the Vietnam War and especially the dogs that were with them.

“We never want to lose that emphasis and this [social media reaction] becomes a distraction of what the story is about.”

Pointing out that such technology was used with Carrie Fisher in the movie Rogue One, he went on: “We will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact.

Read more: James Dean to be resurrected for new film role

“The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down.”

Dean died in a car crash in 1955, at the age of 24, having made only a handful of films but quickly becoming one of the most sought-after actors in Hollywood.

Zelda Williams, whose later father Robin Williams ensured that his image could not be used for 25 years after his death, tweeted yesterday: “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.

“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.”