Firstly, of course Evans would say that. Instead of dramatic lightweights like, say, Liam Hemsworth or Henry Cavill, he now he has to compete at auditions with Jimmy Dean. I know what you’re thinking, “Jimmy Dean isn’t buff. He’d most likely be taking roles from Casey Affleck or Jesse Eisenberg.” Well, it’s CGI: if they resurrected him, they can easily add a couple of biceps and a six-pack. In other words: enjoy poverty, Chris Evans.
Secondly, it’s not like this isn’t already happening. As various news reports pointed out, Star Wars‘ Peter Cushing, who died in 1994, featured posthumously in 2016’s Rogue One thanks to CGI wizardry. Do you think, for example, that Bradley Cooper’s hair is real? It’s all computers. Ryan Gosling’s charm? Computers.
It’s also just a logical extension of the CGI de-ageing effects recently used on Will Smith in Ang Lee’s Gemini Man and on Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman. At this point, every actor in every movie looks like the kid in The Polar Express, so why not at least bring back the legends to join the party?
As Variety reports, Worldwide XR – the visual effects company that owns the rights to James Dean – also “represents the rights for more than 400 celebrities”, including Bette Davis, James Stewart, Ingrid Bergman, Rock Hudson, Christopher Reeve, Burt Reynolds and Aaliyah. My mouth is salivating at the possibilities: so many dead people, so little time.
I can picture it now, Heath Ledger in Netflix’s next teen rom-com. River Phoenix in a Spider-Man sequel. Marilyn Monroe in some sappy Oscar bait. Buster Keaton in a Jackass movie. John Cazale in the role he was born to play, a shut-in Twitter troll. Chris Farley in a biopic about John Candy. John Candy in a biopic about John Candy. Is this the end of biopics? Thank you, CGI.
This also could have solved so many problems. That very sad, painfully meta episode of Riverdale, where Archie and his friends grieved over the loss of Luke Perry’s Fred Andrews? Didn’t need to happen. Just throw that hologram in for endless seasons of heart-warming father-son pep-talks. Can you hug a hologram? I’m sure computers can figure it out.
Perhaps most significantly, this would also end the lingering hero worship that’s greeted untimely celebrity deaths, the mythical ruminations around a one-of-a-kind talent lost and of what still might’ve been. Finally, we now know exactly what might’ve been – a cheap cameo in a dog movie. Hey, even dead icons need to eat.