Remember last week, when we learned that directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh were resurrecting the extremely-deceased James Dean for a new movie? And remember how just about everyone hated this idea, and expressed as much on social media, in interviews and snarky news coverage? And remember, days later, when one of the directors expressed both shock and dismay upon realizing that people really, really, really don't like the idea of dead actors being brought back to digital life?
Well, guess what?
"The team that helped resurrect James Dean with visual effects for an upcoming Vietnam war movie isn’t done creating digital versions of famous actors and other celebrities: Intellectual property licensing specialist CMG Worldwide has merged with immersive content creation studio Observe Media to form Worldwide XR, a new company that aims to bring digital humans to traditional film as well as augmented and virtual reality."
Oh, yeah? Like who?
"Worldwide XR holds and represents the rights for more than 400 celebrities, athletes and sports teams. In addition to James Dean, it will also enable creators to bring back stars like Bettie Page, Burt Reynolds and Andre The Giant, sports legends like Lou Gehrig, and artists like Maya Angelou."
Yes, that's right: just a week after the world expressed its profound displeasure with the practice, the folks who made James Dean available for Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh's Finding Jack are back at it again with the necromancer hijinks, and this time they've joined forces with Observe Media (an "immersive content creation studio") who also want in on the action.
There is, of course, absolutely nothing surprising about this. The film industry and modern tech have been careening towards this eventuality for years now, and there's really nothing to be done about it. I suppose we can all continue wailing and gnashing our teeth in the general direction of the process, or we can simply accept that the future may be even more ghoulish than we ever imagined (which is saying something).
It remains to be seen whether or not any big league productions will seek out Worldwide XR for their roster of (very dead) clients. I suppose it'll happen eventually, but the outcry over Dean appearing in Finding Jack was so loud, and so widespread, I'm having trouble imagining a serious filmmaker or a big-name studio making that leap any time soon. Five years from now, when we're all worn down even further by the horrors of the world and we no longer have the strength to yell about a young Burt Reynolds headlining the latest overly-expensive Robin Hood reboot? Sure. For now? Probably not. No, for the time being, this is probably a gimmick that'll largely remain employed within the world of TV commercials or VR experiences. Least, that's what I'd like to think.
Anyway, just letting y'all know where we're at on all this. As you were.