James Dean is being reborn through movie magic.
The Rebel Without a Cause star, who died at age 24 in a 1955 car crash, will star in an upcoming Vietnam War drama, Finding Jack, with the help of CGI.
Dean's family granted Magic City Films, the movie's production company, the right to use the late actor's likeness, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh said “a realistic version of James Dean" will be created through footage and photographs with the help of visual-effects companies Imagine Engine and MOI Worldwide.
The CGI version of Dean, voiced by another actor, will portray Logan, a secondary lead in the adaptation of Gareth Crocker’s novel, which is about the military dogs left behind after the Vietnam War.
"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," Ernst told THR.
Don't expect Dean to be the last deceased figure to star in a production. CMG Worldwide, an agency that represents "legends — past and present," has over 1,700 clients from the spheres of history and entertainment, including Burt Reynolds, Ingrid Bergman, and Bette Davis. "This opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us," said Mark Roesler, CMG Worldwide's CEO.
Though Dean had a short life, his outsider characters in Rebel, East of Eden, and Giant established him as a Hollywood sex symbol as well as a gay icon. Whether Dean identified as queer has been the subject of some debate, but he reportedly had several affairs with men in his lifetime, including his former roommate and biographer William Bast.
Finding Jack is slated to premiere Veterans Day 2020.