- A CGI version of James Dean has been cast as a secondary lead in the upcoming Vietnam War movie, Finding Jack.
- The directors and studio received permission from Dean’s family to use his image, however, many do not think it is okay to use an actor in a film posthumously.
- Stars like Chris Evans and Zelda Williams condemned the use of James Dean in this manner, seeing as there is no way to know if Dean would actually want to be in this movie. This started a widespread online discussion on the practice of using CGI to bring stars who have passed onto screens.
James Dean Cast in Film
Critics are speaking out against James Dean being cast in a movie—60 years after his death.
Directors Anton Ernst and Tati Golykh are partnering on the film Finding Jack, which is based on a novel of the same name. It will follow a man who is forced to abandon an injured dog he met while serving in Vietnam. The film is being produced by Magic City Films and Dean is set to play the secondary lead in the story.
Dean suffered an untimely death in 1955 after a car accident in northern California at the age of 24. According to The Hollywood Reporter, “Dean’s performance will be constructed via “full body” CGI using actual footage and photos. Another actor will voice him.”
Dean’s family gave the studio permission to use his image for the film.
“We feel very honored that his family supports us and will take every precaution to ensure that his legacy as one of the most epic film stars to date is kept firmly intact,” Ernst said in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter. “The family views this as his fourth movie, a movie he never got to make. We do not intend to let his fans down.”
Ernst also said that they did look at other casting options, but ultimately landed on Dean.
“We searched high and low for the perfect character to portray the role of Rogan, which has some extreme complex character arcs, and after months of research, we decided on James Dean,” he added.
Actors and Others Upset by the News
The concept of casting someone in a film posthumously did not sit well with many in the industry. Zelda Williams, daughter of the late Robin Williams, said it sets an “awful precedent for the future of performance.” In fact, Robin Williams’ family restricted the use of his image for at least 25 years after his death in 2014.
Big-name actors also joined the conversation. Avengers star Chris Evans called the decision “awful.”
Lord of the Rings actor Elijah Wood said, “this shouldn’t be a thing.”
Julie Ann Emery, who has starred in projects like Preacher and Better Call Saul added that it may not give proper credit to the living actor providing Dean’s voice.
“How do Dean’s descendants know that he would WANT to be in a Vietnam movie?” she later asked.
Actors were not the only ones upset about this. An article from Vice pleaded “please don’t do this.”
“For the love of all that is holy, just let his legacy be,” it continued.
Esquire came up with its own suggestions for working actors that would have made a better choice instead of Dean. Their picks ranged from Timothée Chalamet to Harry Styles, to Cardi B and Post Malone, all to say that any living person would be better than a CGI version.
On the other hand, however, some were not as critical of the choice. While their voices were fewer and farther between, some thought that since his family gave it the okay, it should be allowed.
Future and Past Instances
According to The Hollywood Reporter’s piece, Ernst might have future plans to use this kind of technology. Magic City will be working with a Canadian group called Imagine Engine and a South African group MOI Worldwide to produce the CGI, and their list extends past James Dean.
“Our partners in South Africa are very excited about this, as this technology would also be employed down the line to re-create historical icons such as Nelson Mandela to tell stories of cultural heritage significance,” he said.
This is also not the first time a late actor has been used on the screen in this way. In 2016’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Peter Cushing, who died two decades before the film’s release, made an appearance as Grand Moff Tarkin via CGI. He originally played the character in Star Wars: A New Hope. When Rogue One hit theaters, his presence caused its own controversy, with some also thinking it was wrong to do this.
See what others are saying: (The Hollywood Reporter) (Deadline) (Los Angeles Magazine)
AJC Says Film “Richard Jewell” Falsely Depicts their Reporter
- Clint Eastwood’s new film Richard Jewell follows the man falsely accused of planting the Centennial Park bomb in 1996, with an angle that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution vigorously led the charge against him in their reporting on the case.
- The film implies that reporter Kathy Scruggs, played by Olivia Wilde, traded sex for a news tip.
- The AJC and colleagues of Scruggs claim this is false, and the paper is asking the filmmakers to add a disclaimer noting that elements of the story have been fabricated.
- Warner Brothers has defended the film and its depiction of both Jewell and the reporters who covered him. The movie will have a standard disclaimer at the end, as is typical with many films based on real-life events.
AJC Sends Letter to Warner Brothers
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a letter to Warner Brothers requesting that they add a disclaimer before their new film Richard Jewell, saying the movie inaccurately depicts their reporter trading sex for a news tip.
The letter was sent to the studio, as well as the film’s director Clint Eastwood and screenwriter Billy Ray. Based on a Vanity Fair article, the film follows Richard Jewell, who became the FBI’s suspect in the 1996 Centennial Bombing in Atlanta after he reported a suspicious package and helped clear the area. The AJC was the first outlet to report that he was being considered a suspect. Jewell ended up being innocent.
The film implies that the journalist working on the story, Kathy Scruggs, played by Olivia Wilde, traded sex for information on Jewell’s case. The paper claims that this did not happen and that there is no evidence to support it.
“Such a portrayal makes it appear that the AJC sexually exploited its staff and/or that it facilitated or condoned offering sexual gratification to sources in exchange for stories,” the letter said. “That is entirely false and malicious, and it is extremely defamatory and damaging.”
Scruggs is no longer alive to defend her work. She died at the age of 43 in 2001, with many close to her believing the stress from the controversy of her reporting attributed to the poor health that caused her early death.
In addition to the disclaimer, The AJC is also requesting that Warner Brothers make a statement “publicly acknowledging that some events were imagined for dramatic purposes and artistic license and dramatization were used in the film’s portrayal of events and characters.”
Jewell, who died in 2007, filed and settled suits with numerous outlets following the accusations against him. Of all the organizations involved in legal battles over this, the AJC was the only one who did not settle. Their case was dismissed in 2011 with the court saying that at the time, what the outlet was printing was true. They defended their reporting, which many critics say the film attacks, in their letter.
“The AJC actually held that story for a day to develop additional independent corroboration of key facts prior to publication. Law enforcement sources confirmed to the AJC their focus on Mr. Jewell,” the letter said. “The accuracy of the story had also been confirmed with an FBI spokesperson to whom the entire story was read before publication.”
AJC Journalists Criticize Film
Richard Jewell hits theatres everywhere on Dec. 13. The film has received positive reviews and awards buzz so far, though some critics have pointed out the heavy-handed way the film depicts news media. The Washington Post said Eastwood’s latest project paints the press as “the enemy of the people” and “caricatures of corruption.”
Slate said it depicted Scruggs as “vampiric.” The AJC published a piece called “The Ballad of Kathy Scruggs” citing people who knew Scruggs at the time, all who claimed this portrait of her was far from reality.
One colleague called the film version of Scruggs “complete horse (expletive)” and “just not true.” Her reporting partner at the time also critiqued it.
“It’s obvious to me they did not go to any great lengths to find out what the real characters were like,” he said.
“The film literally makes things up and adds to misunderstandings about how serious news organizations work,” he said. “It’s ironic that the film commits the same sins that it accuses the media of committing.”
Warner Brothers Defends Film
“It is unfortunate and the ultimate irony that the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, having been a part of the rush to judgment of Richard Jewell, is now trying to malign our filmmakers and cast,” their statement said. “’Richard Jewell’ focuses on the real victim, seeks to tell his story, confirm his innocence and restore his name. The (Journal-Constitution’s) claims are baseless and we will vigorously defend against them.”
They also told Fox News that the film will have a disclaimer at the end of it, which is standard for most films based at least partially on true stories. This disclaimer will note that while the movie is based on historical events, elements have been added for the purposes of dramatization.
Wilde has previously defended the film and her character. She told the Hollywood Reporter that Scrugg’s legacy has been “unfairly boiled down to one element of her personality, one inferred moment in the film.”
“I think that people have a hard time accepting sexuality in female characters without allowing it to entirely define that character,” Wilde added. “We don’t do that to James Bond, We don’t say James Bond isn’t a real spy because he gets his information sometimes by sleeping with women as sources.”
See what others are saying: (The Daily Beast) (New York Times) (IndieWire)
Ethan Klein Accused of Racism and Homophobia after Calling K-pop a “Little Twink, Gay Fetish”
- Ethan Klein of h3h3 Productions referred to BTS and other K-pop stars as part of a “little twink, gay fetish” in a recent podcast.
- Klein also made sexually obscene comments involving K-pop’s young female fans.
- Soon after, #h3h3IsOverParty trended on Twitter, with many calling his comments both homophobic and racist.
- Klein then doubled down on Twitter, telling K-pop fans to “lighten up” while also accusing them of being responsible for a recent wave of K-pop star suicides.
Klein Calls K-pop a “Twink, Gay Fetish”
After insulting K-pop by calling it a “little twink, gay fetish,” Ethan Klein is being accused of making both racist and homophobic comments.
In a podcast posted to their channel on Saturday, Klein and his wife Hila were breaking down YouTube’s 2019 Rewind. Klein’s comments came when the video showed mega-successful band BTS as having the second most-liked music video on the platform for 2019.
“I don’t get the BTS thing,” Klein said just before the podcast’s 26:00 minute mark. “I’m just going to say it right now, I don’t like K-pop. I hate K-pop. I don’t get BTS. How did this become a thing in Western culture, where all these grown men and little girls are jerking off to K-pop boys? It’s like a little fetish. It’s like a little twink, gay fetish about these K-pop boys.”
The next day, #h3h3IsOverParty started trending on Twitter, where many people criticized Klein’s comments. The backlash did not come as a surprise to Klein, who joked about being “assassinated” by K-pop fans in the podcast.
Twitter users also began uncovering and sharing other, older podcasts, where Klein used both racist and homophobic slurs back to back.
“I love that I can just say [n-word] [f-word], though,” Klein said in one podcast. “Like how could— I couldn’t really say that, [n-word] [f-word]. So wonderful.”
Klein Called Out for “Homophobic” and “Racist” Comments
With Klein’s most recent comments regarding K-pop, however, many denounced his speech as racist and homophobic. Other critics also condemned Klein’s mention of sexually obscene comments regarding K-pop’s young female fans.
“it doesn’t matter if you don’t like kpop, you’re entitled to ur opinions,” one user wrote. “it DOES matter when grown ass adults with a platform are sexualising an entire industry and calling it porn for underage girls and perverts? how do people not understand how gross that is ?? #h3h3isoverparty”
However, some people defended Klein, arguing that some K-pop fans promote the idea of fetishizing Asian men and that Klein was simply making an over-the-top joke.
Klein Doubles Down on Comments
Klein responded to the backlash on Sunday evening in a series of posts, where he joked about making the trending list and told K-pop fans to “lighten up” before making a further sexually obscene comment.
Klein, however, faced another controversy when he said K-pop fans “are responsible for dozens of suicides of K-pop idols because of their online abuse.”
Klein’s comment seemingly refers to a recent wave of suicides among popular Korean icons, such as Sulli, a K-pop star and actress who died in October, whose death was reportedly linked to cyberbullying. In November, another K-pop star, Goo Hara, also committed suicide after people online harassed her following the news that her boyfriend threatened to post an illegal sex tape of her.
Experts, however, have said that no single answer can explain the larger phenomenon of these deaths, with those experts also citing South Korea’s conservative society and the immense pressure K-pop stars face from fans and industry executives.
On Twitter, many then pushed back against Klein’s claim.
As the situation unfolded, Klein’s wife Hila responded by asking if she was also canceled, with Klein saying he was taking her down with him.
Later, Pewdiepie, possibly poking fun at the situation, tweeted his reaction.
“Fucking POS YOURE TRASH!” he said. “Speak bad of kpop and bts again and army will WALK ALL OVER YOU! @h3h3productions #h3h3isoverparty”
Bill Nye’s $28M Lawsuit Against Disney Headed to Trial
- Bill Nye will take Disney to trial under allegations that the company shortchanged him and his partners $28 million for his 1990s television series.
- The “Science Guy” claims that he is personally owed at least $9.4 million.
- Nye filed a complaint in 2017 and a Los Angeles judge just ruled that the case will go to trial.
- The trial will take place in May 2020 over a span of 10 days, according to the ruling.
Judge Gives Green Light
Bill Nye, popularly known as the “Science Guy,” has been granted permission to take his case against the Walt Disney Company to trial.
Nye alleges that Disney failed to pay him and his partners $28.1 million in revenue from his hit 1990s television show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” He claims he alone is owed at least $9.4 million.
A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on Thursday that a 10-day trial will occur in May 2020 to address the allegations.
The television personality filed suit in 2017, questioning Disney’s Buena Vista Television, who handled the accounting.
According to the complaint, Buena Vista Television came to a written agreement with Nye and the other owners of the show in which they agreed to “promote, market, and distribute the show.” Nye and his partners said that under this deal they were entitled to 50% of the net profit, but were shortchanged.
Nye said he became suspicious of the accuracy of his paychecks after Disney claimed they made an “accounting error” in 2008. At that time, the company insisted that he repay them thousands of dollars that they had sent him a few months earlier.
“Bill Nye the Science Guy” ran on PBS for five seasons between 1993-1998 and was screened in classrooms nationwide for educational purposes.