On Wednesday, Magic City Films announced that, thanks to movie magic technology, it cast Dean, who died at age 24 in a car crash, in its upcoming drama “Finding Jack.”
Dean only appeared in three feature films before his death: “Rebel Without a Cause,” “East of Eden” and “Giant,” and has been cast posthumously as a secondary character in the Vietnam War drama.
Fans of the actor weren’t exactly excited about the news on social media.
“I’m sure he’d be thrilled,” Evans said sarcastically in a tweet. The “Avengers: Endgame” star continued to call the restoration “awful” and a “complete lack of understanding.”
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
Bette Midler tweeted that even dead white men can still get a job in Hollywood.
James Dean is being resurrected by CGI to appear in an upcoming movie. Don’t ever let anyone tell you things have gotten more difficult for white guys in Hollywood. Even dead ones can still get a job.
— bettemidler (@BetteMidler) November 7, 2019
Former Disney child star Dylan Sprouse said Magic City Films “found a new way to rob graves of dead icons.”
Mark Roesler, CEO of CMG Worldwide says in addition to other famous, deceased personalities; the film “opens up a whole new opportunity for many of our clients who are no longer with us.” TO BE READ AS: "Found a new way to rob graves of dead icons and milk the masses for less!" https://t.co/67Nxze0wLN
— Dylan Sprouse (@dylansprouse) November 6, 2019
Elijah Wood also chimed in, simply tweeting, “NOPE. this shouldn’t be a thing.”
NOPE. this shouldn’t be a thing. https://t.co/RH7jWY5cAG
— Elijah Wood (@elijahwood) November 6, 2019
Grammy-winner Diane Warren, who was tapped to write music for “Finding Jack,” tweeted that she was “glad they got a living person to write the song.”
This should b interesting!! Inthink it's the first time this has been done. Glad they got a living person to write the song! Me!😜 pic.twitter.com/fED1QNOWh2
— Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) 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,” Zelda Williams, actor and daughter of the late Robin Williams, 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 tweeted a follow-up with a gif featuring a fitting quote from “Jurassic Park.”
Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh obtained the rights to use Dean’s image from his family. The filmmakers said the family supports them and that they will “take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact.”
Magic City Films has not yet responded to Variety‘s request for comment on the controversy.