Technology, in many ways, makes life fantastic.
Our developments as a species have allowed us to slap letters on a screen and within seconds, people on the other side of the world can read them.
But the annoyance we feel at times for our computers crashing or Alexa not getting our song request right pales in comparison to some of the moral and ethical questions being raised by our creations that will probably only become more pressing as time goes on.
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should, and there are quite a few people uncomfortable with a decision that was recently made in film regarding a digital resurrection of a much-loved Hollywood icon.
The movie is “Finding Jack,” which deals with the canine fallout that took place when thousands of working military dogs were abandoned after the Vietnam War.
The filmmakers with Magic City Films have decided the perfect actor for the “secondary lead role” is a man who has been dead for over 60 years.
“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,” director Anton Ernst told The Hollywood Reporter.
“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.”
Obviously, this decision has especially galled other actors, who view this as a gross misuse of Dean’s legacy and believe the casting decision raises some serious questions about consent and rights for actors.
Chris Evans tweeted sarcastically on Wednesday that he was sure Dean “would be thrilled,” ending the sentence with an eye-rolling emoji.
I’m sure he’d be thrilled ?
This is awful.
Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. Or write a couple new John Lennon tunes.
The complete lack of understanding here is shameful. https://t.co/hkwXyTR4pu
— Chris Evans (@ChrisEvans) November 6, 2019
“This is awful,” he continued. “Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso. Or write a couple new John Lennon tunes. The complete lack of understanding here is shameful.”
Robin Williams’ daughter, Zelda, tweeted her strong disapproval as well. She also hinted that with this sort of tide turning, the future looks bleak.
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. https://t.co/elS1BrbDGv
— Zelda Williams (@zeldawilliams) November 6, 2019
“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. “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.”
Elijah Wood chimed in, too, with a short but sweet dissent.
NOPE. this shouldn’t be a thing. https://t.co/RH7jWY5cAG
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) November 6, 2019
“NOPE,” he tweeted. “[T]his shouldn’t be a thing.”
Meanwhile, the filmmakers seem pleased as punch with their groundbreaking move and keep speaking about how this re-creation of James Dean — mostly CGI, voiced by another actor — means there’s change a-coming.
Ernst stressed that the family is on board with this decision.
Still, he and the others who are gung-ho about this project don’t seem to realize that the progress they’re so excited about (being able to bring dead people back to life on screen and make them say and do anything they want) is exactly what terrifies so many people.
“Our partners in South Africa are very excited about this, as this technology would also be employed down the line to re-create historical icons such as Nelson Mandela to tell stories of cultural heritage significance,” Ernst added.
Mark Roesler, the CEO of CMG Worldwide, which represents Dean’s family, expressed similar sentiments.
“This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.
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