What are the ethical boundaries when it comes to a celebrity or movie star after the person in question is dead? Obviously, Sony has no problem releasing an unfinished concert film for the recently departed king of pop Michael Jackson. And judging from the projected box office tracking, people are interested in paying for the chance to see Jackson dance and sing on the big screen, for one last time. But what about commercials? There is certainly a difference between releasing an unfinished performance of a dead star and altering a dead actor’s performance for use in a television commercial.
FilmJunk points us towards this new DirecTV advertisement which features the late comedian Chris Farley‘s performance from Tommy Boy, with David Spade‘s performance digitally altered to promote satellite television. Some might recall that DirecTV went under fire last year for a similar ad altering Poltergeist, featuring Heather O’Rourke, an actress who died tragically in 1988 at age 12. Check out the Tommy Boy advertisement for yourself after the jump, and please chime in: Is this wrong?
And if so, who is to blame? David Spade is getting a lot of flack for supposedly cashing in on his dead friend, but one must assume that Paramount granted permission to alter the video footage, and that Farley’s family must have received a paycheck as well.