Ok, he really is dead, but a holographic avatar of Sir Lawrence Olivier is set to appear in the much anticipated (by me anyway) movie, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow.
This reminds me of the Monty Python sketch where Marilyn Monroe ‘stars’ in a new film:
Interviewer: Ah, what sorts of things does she do in the film?
Carl French: Well, we had her lying on beds, lying on floors, falling out of cupboards, scaring the children, ahm…
Interviewer: But surely Miss Monroe was cremated?
Carl French: Well, we had to use a standin for some of the more visible shots.
Interviewer: Ah! Uh, another actress.
Carl French: Dead actress. But Monroe was in shot the whole time.
Carl French: Oh, in the ash tray, in the fire grate and vacuum cleaner…
But on a more serious note, we’re quickly approaching the time where an actor, dead or alive, can be digitally created and placed in a movie, and done without the consent of that actor. I know several people who felt the main character in the Final Fantasy movie was a double of Ben Affleck. Also, President Clinton made an appearance in Contact, but much like Olivier, hecwas added by splicing different TV appearances together. So the question is: Because we can do this should we? Is it ok to take a famous person, create a digital likeness and use that in a new movie? Can you say Starring: Name of Famous Person? Does that person’s family have any rights in this at all?