Dane DeHaan James Dean

Dane DeHaan has played some pretty meaty roles over the course of his career, but he has particularly big shoes to fill in Life. The Anton Corbijn-directed drama stars DeHaan as silver screen legend James Dean, opposite Robert Pattinson as photographer Dennis Stock.

Until the movie actually opens, we won’t know whether DeHaan does a capable job of capturing Dean’s vital essence. But now that the first still has hit the web, we can at least gauge whether he looks the part. See the photo and judge for yourself after the jump.

EW premiered the first-look photo, which shows the two leads traveling from the train station to Dean’s childhood home in Indiana.

Dane DeHaan James Dean

DeHaan’s not a perfect match. Purely in terms of physical appearance, James Franco, who played Dean in a 2001 TV movie, is a better lookalike. But he’s close enough, and we hope DeHaan’s talents as an actor will carry him the rest of the way.

The script, by Luke Davies (Candy), depicts the real-life friendship that developed when Stock was assigned by Life magazine to do a story on Dean. This was in 1955, just before East of Eden launched Dean’s career into the stratosphere.

The two embarked a road trip together, zipping from LA to New York to Indiana. That iconic Times Square photo is one of the most famous results of the project.

Corbijn’s movie is currently shooting in Ontario, which stands in for Indiana. In a conversation with EW, the director gushed about his own casting choices.

Rob has an intensity that I think Dennis would have. When I see Rob, I see an inner turmoil that is great for the role. And Dane is really interesting. He has a beautiful face, but it’s a hard face to grasp. It’s hard to see how Dane reads sometimes, and the same thing goes for James Dean.

Life has no release date will probably hit in 2015. In the meantime, look for Corbijn’s A Most Wanted Man to open sometime this year.

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