digital resurrection

When you’ve garnered the disgust of everyone on the planet by digitally resurrecting one of the most beloved Hollywood legends, the only thing you can do is double down on being terrible. The team behind the controversial digital resurrection of James Dean for a new Vietnam War movie is forming a new company with the express aim of digitally exhuming even more Hollywood legends.

Variety reports that 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.”

“Influencers will come and go, but legends will never die,” Worldwide XR CEO Travis Cloyd said in a uniquely terrible statement that manages to blame this awful new business model on millennials and Gen Z.

Worldwide XR holds and represents the rights to more than 400 celebrities, athletes, and sports teams, which opens endless possibilities for long-dead stars to return to the big screen. Apart from James Dean, that includes actors like Bettie Page, Burt Reynolds, and Andre The Giant, sports legends like Lou Gehrig, and artists like Maya Angelou. Per Variety, the company intends to do as much with these licenses as they can, creating “digital humans” that can appear in ads, films, and even virtual reality:

Worldwide XR wants to not only license celebrities’ likenesses, but also help creatives make use of existing assets as they look to transform them to digital humans. The way this is done depends on both individual projects as well as the recognizability of each celebrity, explained Cloyd. In some cases, creatives may rely solely on computer-generated imagery based on existing photos and films, while other projects may require combining existing assets with the work of look-alike actors.

So this is just the beginning of our descent into a post-digital hell. Cloyd excitedly promises that the upcoming Vietnam War drama Finding Jack won’t be the last you’ll see of digital James Dean either. Cloyd hopes to bring this technology to augmented and virtual reality, so viewers can interact with these long-dead celebrities, including Dean. “There is a lot more to come for James Dean,” he said. “Think of it as James Dean 2.0.”

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