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George Lucas NOT Resurrecting Dead Movie Stars for New Film

by
December 6, 2010
Source: The Daily Mail

Lucas / Welles

If you're one of those Star Wars fans who thinks George Lucas's retroactive creativity has ruined the classic Star Wars trilogy, then you probably don't want to know what he might be planning to do with some of Hollywood's late, great actors and actresses of decades passed. The Daily Mail (via AICN) recently spoke with actor/director Mel Smith who made a surprising revelation about a potential project from George Lucas. If Smith is to be believed, Lucas has been gathering the film rights to some of cinema's most famous deceased movie stars of Hollywood's golden years and plans to use digital effects to feature them in a film with actors and actresses of today. What?!

Here's what Smith (who worked with Lucas on The Radioland Murders) said, almost as a fleeting, throwaway comment, "He’s been buying up the film rights to dead movie stars in the hope of using computer trickery to put them all together in a movie, so you’d have Orson Welles (pictured above) and Barbara Stanwyck appear alongside today’s stars." While the recent technological innovations that have allowed an aged Jeff Bridges to go back to the 80's and become his younger self for Tron Legacy, this task would likely prove much more difficult. If Lucas is looking to have actors like Welles featured in a film with actors from today, someone will still need to provide voicework and motion capture. While it's not exactly impossible, I'm just not sure the outcome would be as rewarding if the deceased actors were actually alive.

This seems like a strange move, but with Lucas, it's not completely surprising. He seems to really enjoy going back to the pat and ruining things that people love, so why not sully the names and talents of Hollywood's history. Surely other names like Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and other talents that were gone all too soon would likely be of interest, but who from today's line-up of onscreen talent would take part? For now consider this a rumor, but if you're a religious person, I'd say it's time to start praying for God to stop this potential abomination. What do you think?

UPDATE: On the Red Carpet has since been contacted by a representative of Lucasfilm who has debunked this story as being a "false rumor." While the idea seemed a little silly, a lot of people didn't think the it was outside of the realm of possibility for George Lucas to do something like this. However, we wouldn't be surprised if Lucasfilm is simply covering things up just to keep the project under wraps since they've done that before. Either way, for now the official word is that George Lucas will not be bringing iconic actors and actresses back from the dead.

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  • Mortuus
    I agree with ya...this is a terrible move....box-office garbage. reminds me of that south park episode a few years back.
  • Yuck.
  • BinaryChaos
    O.o Psycho...? Sounds like he's bored and feel the need to compete with James Cameron to make another cinematic breakthrough... George Lucas has already made a huge impact on cinematic history enough is enough already stop making unnecessary changes. Make an impact on the video gaming world or something. Don't get me wrong I love the guy but come on... But wait...could this be the beginning of something that has been rumored for years that he will go back and redo star wars episode 4, 5, 6 with the original cast members computerized but with a more modern and up to date backdrop? Best yet in 3D!!!!! -.- *yawn*
  • Trip
    The performances will feel the same as his other movies...dead.
  • T
    /facepalm
  • will
    what the fuck is wrong with this guy?
  • antioch
    interesting idea, but only if Lucas doesn't even TOUCH the script. If he just throws money at it and they don't use an effing green screen in every shot, could be OK
  • Ian S
    it seems like a cool idea. to take actors like james dean and put them in a movie with edward norton would be cool to watch, but what about the script? the story is probably going to be something that was put together in a day, with no real thought into it, just the cool editing to see old dead actors with new actors. the only way i can see this as useful if there is a dark knight scenario, like if an actor dies after the production of a movie and is need for a re-shoot of a certain scene.
  • Cody w
    Just stop Lucas, please just stop.
  • ChrisC5g
    the only good movie he ever made was the first star wars, hes got the right ideas but no skill at directing. This movie seems like a showcase for ILM and his other digital effects companies .. not about making a great movie.
  • jah p
    This wouldn't be successful for the simple fact that the audience couldn't get over the fact that they're watching dead actors on the screen! It's a dumb idea! Go do something original Mr.Lucas please!!
  • BinaryChaos
    @ #8 I agree with you on that one and it would be an awesome idea to execute on the new Superman movie since everyone these days that hear Superman they think of Christopher Reeve because he truly had all the physical characteristics of the character from the comics with added personality :)
  • Al
    Besides the obvious reasons (no humanity, not really acting) theres still the matter that its extremely disrespectful. The rights to Bogarts image used to mean the rights to use his face on a lunchbox. Using him as a person in a film, making him say and do things....how do you know Bogart would want to do a crappy Lucas flick anyway? Awful Awful Awful.
  • RICH
    they should make a digital Christopher Reeve for the Superman Reboot
  • Ben1275
    no.
  • Charles
    I'm just shocked Lucas is actually working on an idea that isn't Star Wars or Indiana Jones. I mean, it says something about a man when he has to keep going back to his original successes instead of trying anything new. But, I guess after nearly 30 years it's time to get out there again.
  • one
    Not only a bad idea, but not even an original one. He probably saw the trailer to Tron Legacy and saw the younger Jeff Bridges and thought...hmmm.
  • HB
    interesting but pretty disrespectful
  • Pendy Sixteen
    There are thousands of subtleties to the human performance that are what make a good actor (especially a classic actor) unique and entertaining. Even if you can replicate every muscle movement and detail, you cannot match their acting skills and personality. More importantly, you shouldn't try. At best it will be a bad impression of not only the actor but of of a human.
  • Like most hockey teams this probably sounds great on paper but I get the feeling this could be pretty lame and soulless with real actors acting against green/blue screen mo-cap counterparts. Hey kind of like the Star Wars prequels only worse...and we haven't even heard the story yet:P Best case we get a convincing effort like Gollum. Worst case we get Looney Tunes/Space Jam. Like @16 says, at least he's not going back to the well.
  • wm
    and will this be actually called "STAR" Wars?
  • Ninja master
    This is MADNESS! O_o
  • Al
    #19, well said.
  • Ajax
    No. Damn. Way.
  • ChrisC5g
    i wish he's give some new star wars scripts to spielberg , with lucas's universe and speilbergs directing and imput it would be perfect
  • How has GL like to go to the past and ruin the things we love exactly? This seems more like an excuse to hate on the prequels. Not very subtle...
  • Hmm
    He can barely direct living people.
  • Alex T.
    Wow I guess that's the answer to the age old question, "What do you buy when you have everything?". The answer: The rights to the likenesses of dead people. You buy the dead.
  • Alex T.
    There's a special place in hell for George Lucas.
  • Fox
    So... Since George Lucas is braindead for a long time, im so gonna get the film rights to be GL, and pretend im GL directing a movie with actors pretending to be (famous dead) actors pretending to be characters of a movie about GL.... Talk about circular metafiction, ah!
  • Akirakorn
    @26, I'm assuming we are all talking about going back and ruining the original star wars trilogy with the special editions (the Greedo incident, 'new' effects that look terrible on DVD, etc) of the Original Trilogies. Not the prequels.
  • Bob Amaral
    I don't know if he could pull it off -- but I would love to see Bogart acting again -- or even Edward G. --- Hard to believe he could replicate dead actors on screen convincingly though . . . . .
  • pillow talk pimp
    Lucas wants to make dead great actors immortal. If he is successful, then he should also be able to make Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, etc. 'immortal' as well. That isn't what I fear. What I fear is when Lucas starts licensing out those stars to sell toasters, cars, beer, and so on...and the tech for corps to make their ads. This is about money. Lots of it. Lucas is making a move for that cash.
  • Have Hope
    Man, Lucas REALLY needs to find something more worthwhile to do. As someone above mentioned, a digital replica CANT, KANT, CANNOT show the nuances and subtleties of the real actor. In a given scene, with a particular actor, they will try something that no animator will think of. So, sorry George, stick to making GOOD films with MODERN actors....go from there HH
  • Chris
    Its already been done. Sort of. Remember Steve Martin in "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid?"
  • the weatherman
    Two words can make the Welles thing totally awesome: Christian McKay
  • Sanka
    Brilliant! Another giant leap in cinema magic!
  • Hattori Hanzo
    As usual, people here are making derogatory comments and complaining about shit they know nothing about. I'm surprised Ethan that you are part of this sensationalistic Enquirer type of reporting when even you know nothing about it.
  • Alex O
    This was a topic that we discussed at the VES about five years ago; The pros and cons of using 3D models for actors. The discussion began with Beowulf, at the time was recently green lighted and Image Movers was in the thick of production. It gets complicated when discussing: Who owns the likeness rights, do the artists get paid residuals or the actors (living or dead), does a performance like this warrant an acting credit or an animation credit, where to intellectual property rights fit into this situation, so on and so on. Personally, I think this whole idea is bad because this process prevents new talents from being discovered. A big concern from the VES conversation was the idea of duplication; Will an actor be duplicated again and again through out the lifespan of the film industry? Who will benefit from that likeness, acting style? Animators, in general, are part actor. Their contribution to the conversation was one of passionate distrust. Part of the joy of acting and animating is making happy accidents, creating impromptu performances. Regurgitating performance nuances from someone being dead for 50 years is not creative and boring for both the audience and the artist working on the model. My personal wish is for this process to be subdued by the legal system before it becomes common place. Films are complicated enough to make without throwing an additional wrench into the mix.
  • Anne
    The possibilities of Industrial Light and Magic’s enhanced technology is being called by 'those in the know' as a potential game changer in visual effects. Imagine Bogart alongside Ford in a new Indy movie! You Lucas haters out there should be congratulating him instead of pissing on him for all the technological advancements in cinema he has given us since Star Wars. That alone has earned Lucas the respect he deserves, regardless of what you may feel about what he has done to ‘his’ and I empathize 'his' movies. I'll wait and see before passing judgment but if the track record of Industrial Light and Magic means anything this could very well be the game changer the experts are saying it will be.
  • Alex O
    One additional note. Think of it this way: Would we need George Clooney if we could recreate Humphrey Bogart? Would we need Natalie Portman if a young Elizabeth Taylor was still acting? Can you picture Frank Sinatra and Brad Pitt fighting for box office headlines? I believe it's a pandora's box.
  • Scorpius
    Strange all these comments! Somebody (who doesn't like Lucas) announces a rumor about Lucas' projects, and all people here believes him? I know many people like hating Lucas, but with such stupid rumors, you need to stop now...
  • Brian
    I think I have to agree with Hattori on this one Ethan. Your article seems to be about dumping on George Lucas than reporting what this technology is all about. If this is all that you do know about it, maybe you shouldn't have said anything until you had more to report. You personal remarks on Lucas seems pretty small and unwarranted for someone in your position.
  • Eric
    This is a terrible idea and will probablly be a terrible film... but ...if he pulls off the mechanics of it, even if the movie sucks he might acomplish something amazing that other people with something more than technical talent can use as a tool. George Lucas seems to have lost his mind and is completely detached from the real world, but the man has a talent for investing in computer artists/technicians that can make things which are visually stunning to look at. The Star Wars Prequels looked great and had some cool action sequences. The problem was that the stories and acting sucked. So maybe Lucas's people make a technical breakthrough and then someone with actual talent puts it to good use at some point in the future. No one can say thos old computer animated short films from the 90's (The one's that got passed around on VHS, pre pixar) were real gems but they looked cooll and let people see where technology is going. Maybe that's what Lucas will do.
  • Jimmy Love
    Lucas deserves some dumping on! and as far as those being his movies WRONG I have bought enough copies of the original trilogy to count as a share holder, MILLIONS of others have done the same! at that point the movies no longer belong to any one person. I know contracts and lawyers I'm not stupid! my point is He pissed in our wheaties and now he's getting shit for it! those things you cannot put into a contract you know common sense! And now he wants to own the film rights to classic actors? what a douche bag! there is no low he will not sink to.
  • scorpius
    Lucasfilm has denied this rumor several hours ago. I wonder why firstshowing is not reporting this...
  • The story has since been updated to include Lucasfilm debunking this rumor, so no need to worry about any hidden reasons as to why we didn't update immediately. After all, this isn't even our scoop. The fact is we've been working on other stories and since this was categorized as a rumor to begin with we didn't think it required immediate attention as being dubbed false.
  • Susteren
    You are a stupid.
  • Liz
    Translation: "We ran this because it was a crazy lucas rumor and figured it was a junk lead anyway so there was no rush to put up a correction. Besides, fact-checking is hard."
  • DiR3cT
    That is worse than talking animals, plus it's an insult to the dead.
  • Pendy Sixteen mentioned that the subtleties of human actors cannot be replicated digitally and I agree. Seeing Jeff Bridges as both older Flynn and the ever-young Clu in Tron was kinda fun, but even there, they overused the effect, which gave viewers too much time to find the flaws and pick up quickly on the artificiality of the character. With Clu, you might be able to dodge the bullet by claiming that he should seem slightly artificial, but that's really just avoiding the issue. With so many fine, fine, actors available, there needs to be an especially strong, story-motivated reason to try to pull this sort of thing off. Lucas has long-since forgotten that effects are supposed to support plot, not replace it. He's become so enamored with fluff that there's no room for substance. Ditto for his pal, Spielberg. I want nothing more to do with either of them.

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