Though the cultural icon, who died in 1955, will return to the screen via CGI in 'Finding Jack' using actual footage and photos, the filmmakers originally had their eyes on the King to play an Army unit leader.
James Dean's return from the grave — as a CGI character in the upcoming Vietnam drama Finding Jack — doesn't have a lot of breathing stars cheering "This is awful," Chris Evans tweeted about the resurrection. But if the film's directors had their way, they'd have dug up an even more iconic figure to play an Army unit leader in their $40 million film: Elvis Presley.
After get knock-backs from a couple of still very much alive A-list names scheduling issues, apparently, Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh originally had their eyes on the King, but were turned down by his estate, though he has already had a brief digital outing, popping up as a malfunctioning hologram in a scene from Blade Runner 2049. He was also, notes Ernst, “in the Army,” being famously stationed in West Germany in the late 1950s. Movie audiences can still get their fill of the rock 'n' roll legend in Baz Luhrmann's upcoming biopic starring Austin Butler.
For the lead role — a soldier named Fletcher who attempts to rescue his beloved military dog Jack at the end of the war — Ernst also admits there had been a short debate about deploying the same VFX technology being used on Dean to cast a “young Paul Newman.” However, they soon settled on having just one CGI castmember.
“We don't want this to become a spectacle — more than it already is,” he says, describing the reactions to Dean's posthumous casting as “nuts, just nuts."
Given the blowback over exhuming a legend, finding a co-star for Dean whose character has "significant “significant” screen time might prove challenging.
“But it's a good challenge: Can they outshine James Dean?” says Ernst. “You're going to need someone with big balls.” He actually claims that a script was sent to Evans, hearing that he “liked the story”.
While the onscreen Dean will be a CGI model crafted from old footage of the icon, there's then the issue of who will voice this avatar. Golykh says she's had "a lot of emails” from people claiming they could do solid impressions.
Technology is also an option, with an Australian AI company specializing in training computers to speak like people based on recordings having been in touch. “But that's where we drew the line,” says Ernst. “We said no, because that would have been a bit ghostly.”
Every day is bringing sweeping changes to the entertainment industry at large as the coronavirus strain known as COVID-19 is spreading around the United States. But last night, it got more personal for beloved Oscar-winning actor Tom Hanks and his wife, actress and producer Rita Wilson. The couple were confirmed to be the first major Hollywood stars to contract the virus, and they are now in quarantine down in Australia where Baz Luhrman's Elvis Presley biopic was in production.
Deadline got the news before Tom Hanks made the following post on Instagram:
Warner Bros. Pictures released a brief statement about the situation, which will undoubtedly have an impact on other members of the film's production crew:
“We have been made aware that a company member from our Elvis feature film, which is currently in pre-production in The Gold Coast, Australia, has tested positive for COVID-19 coronavirus.
We are working closely with the appropriate Australian health agencies to identify and contact anyone who may have come in direct contact with the individual. The health and safety of our company members is always our top priority, and weare taking precautions to protect everyone who works on our productions around the world.
The individual who tested positive for COVID-19 is currently receiving treatment.”
What makes COVID-19 that much harder to deal with is you could be spreading the virus and not have any symptoms, and by the time you feel sick, you've already given it to many others. That's why we must all take the proper precautions to isolate ourselves as best as possible if coronavirus symptoms become apparent.
During this time period, as our government fails to be honest about the gravity of the situation and instead chooses to worry about the stock market instead of people, the population should start social distancing in order to slow and eventually stop the spread of this flu strain. If you don't know how social distancing works, you can read up on it over here. In fact, South Korea's institution of social distancing has already resulted in the number of new coronavirus cases dropping, and if the United States gets more serious about it now, they might be able to fight this infection more effectively before it gets dramatically worse.
We'll keep you posted on how coronavirus continues to interrupt the entertainment industry. Stay safe out there, folks.