Recently came a huge outcry when news broke that the late James Dean would be digitally resurrected to ‘star’ in the second lead role in the new Vietnam War film “Finding Jack”.
Late actors have been resurrected from the grave for digital performances before, from Laurence Olivier for “Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow,” to Peter Cushing’s likeness in “Rogue One”. All however were for small cameos paying direct homage to their works.
In the case of Dean, it’s a fairly major role and is seemingly being done more for reasons of ‘because we can’. Now, Variety reports that this is only the beginning and a new company called Worldwide XR is about to open the floodgates.
The trade indicates the company plans on selling the digital likenesses of legendary actors for use in future films including icons such as Bettie Page, Burt Reynolds, Andre The Giant, Lou Gehrig, and Maya Angelou.
A combination of licensing company CMG Worldwide and immersive content creation studio Observe Media, Worldwide XR reportedly holds the digital rights to over 400 stars. Travis Cloyd, CEO, admits “it’s disruptive. Some people dislike it” but there’s a reason for this: “influencers will come and go, but legends will never die.”
The company will reportedly do its ‘due diligence’ when vetting potential filmmaking partners who want to use the likeness of an actor. Cloyd also says expect much more of this: “There is a lot more to come for James Dean. Think of it as James Dean 2.0.”