Monday, January 17, 2011

Ethical Entertainment?

So director George Lucas apparently thinks he has the power to raise the dead. He’s certainly a high and mighty presence in Hollywood, but he ain’t no God. Here’s the deal: A bizarre rumor began floating around the internet back in December that the Star Wars creator has been buying up the rights to dead movie stars, so he can “bring them back” with the use of new technology. Imagine James Dean and Marilyn Monroe co-starring in a new film together. Weird, right? And kind of creepy.

A Lucasfilm spokesperson quickly shot down the story, but according to ABC News, it might not be as far-fetched as we think (or hope). CMG agency, which has represented the estates of such late movie legends as Ingrid Bergman, James Dean, Errol Flynn and Bette Davis, said they have indeed reached out to Lucasfilm. No word on whether any definitive deals have been made, though.

Up until now, dead stars have appeared only as digital cameos in films - like Laurence Olivier in 2004’s Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, or Marlon Brando in 2006's Superman Returns. Could a digitally rendered likeness of one of these films greats carry an entire movie? Or, more importantly, would anyone even see a movie like this? It’s almost like cloning or cryogenics - it prompts ethical debate. Shouldn’t we preserve the memories of these stars and just leave well enough alone? Computers can capture their likeness, but not their essence. It’s like when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Inception realizes his dream wife will never be the real thing. “I can't imagine you with all your complexity, all your perfection, all your imperfection,” he says. Yup, these digital characters would be just a shade, and therefore just not good enough.



VP81955 said...

Part of me would love to see the images of Carole Lombard, Cary Grant, Myrna Loy, William Powell, etc., grace our screens once again. Then I remember we would only be seeing their images, not the talent that made them so special. Putting their likenesses in the hands of people who seek to exploit, rather than understand, them scares the heck out of me. (The thought of Lombard and Loy being toyed with by the nitwits who create today's alleged "romcoms" is appalling.)

Bring them back -- but only if you can also bring back the actual talent of the writers and directors who worked with them. Alas, I don't think Ben Hecht or Ernst Lubitsch can be revived quite so easily.

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