Why Chris Evans and Other Celebrities Are Against CGI James Dean Movie

James Dean is returning to the silver screen more than 60 years after the Rebel Without A Cause actor died in a car accident at the age of 24 and Chris Evans of Avengers: Endgame among other celebrities are upset about it. The decision to “cast” the cultural icon often mentioned in the same breath as Marilyn Monroe (learn her net worth here) or Audrey Hepburn in a posthumous CGI role elicited outrage on Twitter from actors and the public alike. 

Evans: ‘lack of understanding here is shameful’

On Nov. 6, 2019, The Hollywood Reporter shared an exclusive on Dean being cast in the Vietnam-era, Finding Jack, directed by Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh. The article explained his scenes would be crafted using “full body” CGI with the help of footage and photographs while another actor would provide the voice. It also noted that Dean’s family supports the casting move. 

James Dean in a publicity shot for 'Rebel Without A Cause' in 1955.
James Dean in a publicity shot for ‘Rebel Without A Cause’ in 1955 | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Evans, who is best known for playing Steve Rogers or Captain America in the Avengers movies, — get the order of the films here — shared his feelings about the casting choice with his 13.3 million Twitter followers.

Replying to The Hollywood Reporter’s tweet about Dean he wrote, “I’m sure he’d be thrilled,” with an eye-rolling emoji indicating how he thought the actor would feel. 

“This is awful. Maybe we can get a computer to paint us a new Picasso,” he tweeted. “Or write a couple new John Lennon tunes.” 

“The complete lack of understanding here is shameful,” Evans added. 

Elijah Wood says CGI casting ‘shouldn’t be a thing’

Elijah Wood, the 38-year-old actor best known for his role in The Lord of the Rings movie franchise — get the order of the movies here — agreed with Evans. He also tweeted in response to The Hollywood Reporter with a short and succinct two-sentence reply.

“NOPE,” he wrote. “This shouldn’t be a thing.”

Zelda Williams: ‘It sets such an awful precedent’

Zelda Williams, daughter of late comedian and actor Robin Williams who had a net worth of $50 million at the time of his death in 2014, began a lengthy discussion in a series of tweets in the wake of the casting news about Dean on Nov. 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,” the 30-year-old tweeted. “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.”

She then explained that companies may purchase a deceased actor’s likeness, which she and her family blocked from happening for her father

“We had it secured for Dad [Robin Williams] that no one would be ‘resurrecting’ him for a bad facsimile,” she wrote. “I personally think we should let the great performers of the past rest. 

“They took their bows themselves,” Williams added.

“THIS is recreating a real person from thin air & controlling them,” she said in another tweet. “Acting like they would’ve wanted to do their movie, make THEIR choices.”

Many Twitter users responded to her tweets as well as Evans’s and Wood’s with people describing the choice to cast Dean in a posthumous role as “disgusting” or “disrespectful.” 

“Now new actors have to compete with ghosts too??” one tweet read while others referenced a line from Jeff Goldblum in Jurassic Park (1993) where his character says, “Scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could that they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Production on Finding Jack begins on Nov. 17, 2020. The film’s set to be released worldwide on Veterans Day 2020.