BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Talking Point  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 09:16 GMT 10:16 UK
What film stars would you like to see resurrected?
Dead film stars could have their careers resurrected by being brought back to life on the big screen, thanks to advances in digital technology.

According to Star Wars director George Lucas, the technology is now in place for deceased Hollywood legends to star in the latest movie releases.

The advance could see silver screen greats such as John Wayne, Marilyn Monroe and James Dean cast alongside today's box office heavyweights like Tom Cruise and Julia Roberts.

Lucas urged his fellow directors to be cautious, however, before lining up that love scene between George Clooney and Grace Kelly. He said that audiences "would not want to see an imitation of someone who was a strong presence in real life".

What film star would you like to see resurrected? Can the technology be put to good use, or would it simply be disrespectful to the dead?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Laurel and Hardy behind the bar of the Old Vic

David Hazel, UK
How about Laurel and Hardy behind the bar of the Old Vic? Even I would watch EastEnders to see them! Or Harold Lloyd starring in a new Superman remake (he looks like Clark Kent). Buster Keaton as the captain in a new Star Trek series. Will Hay as Obi Wan Kenobi in the next Star Wars film.
David Hazel, UK

River Phoenix - he died in his prime and we all missed out on what would have been a great career.
Helen, UK

They're not dead nor are they film stars. But my vote goes for Pan's People!
Simon Mallett, UK

I'd like to see Humphrey Bogart in more films, but I doubt if the films his ghost would be cast in could do him justice. He had the presence to bring the audience close to his characters. These days, that seems not to be the director's objective. Think of Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn in the excellent 'Bringing up Baby'. Could you get the humour of their dialogue without having the two of them in the studio? I doubt it. So what's the point in showing a pale shadow of somebody who used to be a great actor? Wouldn't it be better to use real people?
Bill, UK

No actors need fear for their careers just yet

Peter Paddon, UK/ US
Some people seem to be missing the point here. The technology would only recreate the likenesses of actors. Modern-day actors would still have to supply the voices, characterisations, and even movements. The use of such animations would be limited to cameo roles or recreated scenes like the ones in Forest Gump. So no actors need fear for their careers just yet. As for my vote? I'd love to see cameos of Humphrey Bogart, Peter Sellers or Elvis in a comedy - and what better tribute to Hitchcock than to revive his tradition of having a walk-on part in thrillers?
Peter Paddon, UK (living in US)

The Marx Brothers, so much funnier than any modern comedians.
Rash, England

How about Hollywood first resurrecting plot, dialogue and unpredictable endings?
Daniel Ljunggren, UK/Swede

I'd resurrect John Wayne... and send him to acting school.
Andrew Crane, Atlanta, USA

Obviously says something about the state of Hollywood when they have to virtually exhume its actors of yesteryear

Paul Williams, Britain
I think if it does happen it will look extremely tacky, maybe a novelty for a while, but won't last... there is no way they could breathe life into a character like Bette Davis with technology. Obviously says something about the state of Hollywood when they have to virtually exhume its actors of yesteryear.
Paul Williams, Britain

What about animated directors?
Tom, UK

I would love to meet James Dean. And I presume that would require his (literal) resurrection; however, compromisement of his image and words is the ultimate deceit - the ultimate disrespect. I am destined to wait for a real miracle.
J. McGinnis-Knudson, US

I had to scroll back up this page to see if it was headed 'What American film stars would you like to see resurrected?' Are there no British film stars worthy of digital resurrection? OK, so it's Hollywood that suggests digital stars would make box office hits but I would rather see more classics from the golden era of Ealing and Elstree.
Adrian Rothery, England

It sounds very interesting technologically, but morally, it seems very wrong

Ian Maddison, UK
It sounds very interesting technologically, but morally, it seems very wrong. If we now have the technology to do this, why not create a unique digital actor rather than copy someone who died years ago?
Ian Maddison, UK

No question - George Formby!!
Mad Uncle Simes, UK

Oliver Reed! Not just an actor but a real movie hero
Dan Holyoake, England

What about remaking all the 'Die Hard' series with Steve McQueen? Or 'Basic Instincts' with Marilyn Monroe? Or even better, James Dean's head on Brad Pitt's body in 'Vanilla Sky'!
Alistair Creel, UK

I would like to see that virtual actors get paid in some way and all contributions go to benefit the amateur and professional actors societies worldwide.
Suzanne J, UK

New stories, new actors - we already see too many recycled stories, so I am not interested to see recycled actors as well. Give new talents a chance.
Dieter Mueller, Germany

I'd really like to see Vivien Leigh. That's a real actress.
Humberto Gumeta, UK

Ida Lupino, Will Hay, Peter Sellers, Nigel Hawthorne.
Bill Rigby, US

It's a cool concept

Tina, UK
Aw, come on! It's a cool concept. I think it'd be great to have these people alive again. As long as it was clearly implied that these aren't the real actors, and you're not going to get the same quality and real-ness factor that you would if they were alive. But to see Audrey Hepburn again...doing new stuff...that's be great!
Tina, UK

I don't think this is right. A living actor can choose to accept or decline a part according to their own ethics and choices. By using dead people in this way, their memory is being tainted.
Sita, UK

I think is a very sick idea and everybody involved should be ashamed. Do you not respect the beauty of God's creation? In this world in which we live we need to recognise the sanctity of His word.
Munzar Sharif, UK

Buster Keaton. I like to laugh, and he does the job every time.
D. Denny, USA

Anyone, just as long as it helps end Tom 'I don't smile I bare my teeth' Cruise's undeserved career!
Agneis, UK

I find it disgusting that this idea has even been suggested! I adore Audrey Hepburn, I love her films and wish that I had met her. However, she is dead and her memory and that of others should be respected.
Matthew Jones, Wales

I would like to be in the remake of the Guns of Navarone in the Gregory Peck part

Bob Gardiner, England
How about the following: Two that are gone: Steve McQueen Oliver Reed Two that are still here but I would love to see them in their youth again: Elizabeth Taylor Brigitte Bardot And why not: Me. (If they are that clever I would like to be in the remake of the Guns of Navarone in the Gregory Peck part!)
Bob Gardiner, England

Brian Clowes, Wales

I would love to see James Stewart and Mae West in a film together. "Destry Rides Again" meets "She Done Him Wrong." Don't combine new and old, just bring back old.
Christine, USA

The Carry on Team!!! Sid James, Hattie Jaques and Kenneth Williams!!
Paul, UK

Cary Grant was the best leading man. Where it might be possible to recreate his sophisticated yet devilish visage, it would be impossible to fashion his savoir-faire and wit out of electrons and computer chips. Any attempt to marry Cary with the celluloid fairy is bound to look a bit contrary. (Sorry, I couldn't resist; it's Friday.) The best leading lady was Audrey Hepburn for sheer beauty, grace and sparkling innocence. Today's actors (male and female) perhaps do not have the same shine to their stars, but they weren't brought along in the same studio fashion. Instead of trying to recreate a past that will always be behind us, we should celebrate the great talents of this age. There are so many superb actors around today that don't have that studio gloss to them, so it's easy to take them for granted.
Chris, US

I would like to see Bruce Lee resurrected to complete the unfinished film 'Game of Death', instead of the travesty we are subjected to using a stand-in in '75 released film. I would love to see the Master of 'Gung Fu' in action again.
Sonny, UK

Bring back the great Hollywood Stars. We've been missing too much from the talentless buffoons considered to be best actor and actress. Today there are about three good actors. One is De Niro. One is Al Pacino. One is Tommy Lee Jones. One is Harrison Ford. These are the giants. The rest are at best mediocre. Including that overrated Denzel Washington.
Dave Adams, USA

I agree with George Lucas

Ian, England
I agree with George Lucas - if you resurrect the actor/actress digitally, you may have their looks, but you won't have their actual acting talent. Let the dead rest, I say - we have enough good actors around already.
Ian, England

Could the computer programmer, albeit driven by the film directors want, recreate the dead actors personna and screen presence? I think not, it will merely be a vestige of who they were, indeed ghostly. Let's concentrate on living actors being pushed to their limits in new films. In fact concentrate effort on script writing, that's where today's movies are sadly lacking.
Dave Lawrie, Chicago USA

Orson Welles. To hear that voice again.
Robert del Valle, USA

Mmm, not sure about this one. Who'd get the royalties? Who would choose which films they were to "perform" in. Artistic integrity is a bit dodgy here. The only possibility I can see is Elvis (or any other dead pop star) being able to star in new music videos for re-releases of his music. Far better than showing clips from those awful movies of his. The King could be cool again!
Matt Davey, UK

The whole fun of watching an ancient movie and its cast will surely be lost if they star in today's movie. What's the point!
Raza Siddiqui, France

This is really a bad idea. We all know that Hollywood is money and nothing else. If they do this all current actors would be given less work and they deserve their shot at the big screen just like they all did back then. Somebody please tell these people to give it a rest! The past is the past. Period! Conversation over.
Elvia, Mexico

Joan Crawford!!!
Nathan Perry, France

I would dearly love to see Marlene Dietrich resurrected on screen. She was a real character and had so much charisma and life to her.
Emma, UK

Think on how the PC people in Hollywood will use this technology to have the old stars support the current PC positions. This is a real bad idea.
Richard T. Ketchum, USA

Think "Plan 9 From Outer Space"
Alan, US

This is an appalling idea. Actors should not be featured in any films other than the ones they agreed to. The idea that some nameless, faceless studio executive could decide that the genius of Jack Lemmon can, somehow, be digitally recreated is abhorrent and an insult.
Simon, UK

I personally think it's just a way for Hollywood production companies not to have to spread the $15million the hot stars of today want. Although I appreciate there are many great actors who are no longer with us I think it's wrong to resurrect them digitally as it wouldn't be about their talent as actors but about the creator's skill with computers.
Lee, UK

Let the dead be dead not that they will come back to life with their past memory, personality .They had their time and now it's someone else's term.
Steven, UK

Yes the character would look like your movie hero. But how do you accurately reproduce their personality?

Paul Papworth, UK
I think a few people are missing the point. Yes the character would look like your movie hero. But how do you accurately reproduce their personality?
Paul Papworth, UK

Bruce Lee. Because he is a really cool action hero, like for real.

WHY stop with actors? why no resurrect political figures and sport stars?
Jason, US

Fritz the Cat is the only actor one could reasonably re-animate. Putting words into the mouths of the dead is not just disrespectful, it's sick!
Paul, UK

Hollywood, Hollywood, what a narrow selection so where are the quality acts? I needn't the scores of British actors not included on your list......
Michael Street, England

Who are the film studios planning to pay for the use of these icons? Can a person's image and personality be copyrighted? The lawyers are going to have a ball- and will probably end up with most of the cash themselves!
Al, New York

Actors like James Stewart and Cary Grant are far better than some working today

David D, England
Think about this for a second. If Hollywood did begin to bring back to life dead actors and actresses, then don't you think that all the actors working today in Hollywood would be out of a job. Actors like James Stewart and Cary Grant are far better than some working today.
David D, England

Hey let's spend the computer processor power on re-mastering and re-releasing those old movies, rather than on resurrecting old stars. The majority of films from the 30s through to the 50s were much more sophisticated than the majority of mass produced stuff today.
Bill Nicholas, Germany, (ex-UK)

Don't do it, please! The sad thing is, Hollywood being Hollywood and the world being how it is, I won't be surprised when Monroe and Depp appear in a remake of Bus Stop.
Timothy, Banbury, UK

I think my money is on John Wayne. He would be the easiest to resurrect since his performances never varied from one horse opera to the next - even the dialogue was the same. It would be a howling success and provide the funds to resurrect the more complex characters like Jimmy Stewart or that great character actor Elvis Presley. What am I saying - the whole idea is a nightmare.
John Brownlee, England

Bring back River Phoenix and I will have a reason to drool again

Mel, UK
Why was Robert Mitchum not on the list? He was a superb actor, a natural and to be frank a beautiful man. He was also a very difficult man admittedly but boy was he good. Also bring back River Phoenix and I will have a reason to drool again. He is my current day star. He was a miraculous actor and he died tragically young.
Mel, UK

Greta Garbo, without a doubt!
Christine, UK

This is not a good idea. There is some justification in temporarily resurrecting a star in order to complete an unfinished movie, as they did with Oliver Read in Gladiator. However, to resurrect stars to make complete movies just for financial profit alone is surely ethically wrong.
Graham Rodhouse, The Netherlands

I am not sure it is a good idea to 'resurrect' actors who are now dead, but this technology could be used to put new life into old films. Some of the great films from the 30s to the 50s could be seen as though they had been shot with today's technology and quality.
Ken Beach, Germany

Bring back Bette!

George, UK
Bette Davis - she was a real star, not like the fly-by-night actors you get now, but someone who exuded glamour from every pore. Bring back Bette!
George, UK

You seem to have made a terrible mistake. Steve McQueen isn't on the list. He's the daddy!
Peter Moreland, England

This is the worst idea I have ever heard. We have enough acting talent around today to rival the stars of the past but what they need are good scripts. Even Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall couldn't have made silk purses out of the sow's ears that were Tomb Raider and The Phantom Menace.
Bill, UK

Isn't this what they did in Forrest Gump? Sorry, George Lucas, but I would not be able to get the image of Tom Hanks and JFK out of my mind. I wouldn't be able to take the film seriously. If you want to resurrect a good actor's career, get Robert Downey Jr to stay clean - the biggest waste of talent I've ever seen.
Jennifer Ethington, NJ, USA

I think it's probably a bad idea to digitally recreate film stars to be honest. It would dilute the work they did in their lives, and also make a mockery of what they achieved - it would basically be like a puppet having its strings pulled by a computer. But if they were going to do it, I would like to see them have a go at trying to recreate Bruce Lee. The man had such an awesome ability in terms of his physical prowess and energy, and recreating him digitally might be the only way to get close to what he was, as no person has come close so far.
John-Joe Reilly, London, England

It sounds like a morbid idea. Instead of giving these people some respect and acknowledging their contribution to cinema, Hollywood now wants to profit even more from them after their death. What else are we going to see in the name of money?
Fivos, Athens, Greece

The gorgeous Clark Gable

Kate, UK
Obviously, the gorgeous Clark Gable, or Gregory Peck. The advantages of this kind of technology, however, might be that we see some proper acting again, as opposed to today's overpaid, egocentric, and largely untalented film stars!
Kate, UK

Marlene Dietrich. She died just 10 years ago, and although she was one of the biggest stars of the 30s and 40s, she seems to be have been forgotten.
Anthony, London, UK

As tempting as it would be to see some of the greatest stars from the past appear in new movies, I think it should in no way be allowed. These people are dead. Face up to it. Also, there is no way of saying which new movies the stars would have agreed to have starred in if they were alive. It shows no respect for them now that they're dead.
Chris L, UK

Never mind about the dead stars, I wouldn't mind seeing some of the live ones resurrected. I applaud the directors who pluck some of the former greats from the shadows of obscurity and show them in a whole new way. It's certainly inspiring. I love the way that brilliant actors such as Jon Voight (Heat), John Travolta (Pulp Fiction), Martin Landau (Crimes & Misdemeanours), Robert Foster (Jackie Brown) and Jason Robards (Magnolia) have come back to add a whole new dimension to the films they star in. I'd love to see an older Mickey Rourke return to the screen or the still very beautiful Lauren Bacall to star alongside, say John Cusack.
Mazz, UK

Computers might be able to duplicate the face of an actor but how could they possibly replicate the interpretation of a character?
Susan, UK

The Three Stooges circa 1935 - without question.
Hugh Payne, England

Considering the awful standard of acting performances that George Lucas manages to coax out of his actors - who are all capable of much better things - he really doesn't have a leg to stand on. Jar Jar Binks was widely disliked, but at least he/it had an on-screen personality that could provoke such a reaction, unlike the uniformly uninteresting and dull human cast.
Rich Thomas, Sweden/UK

Latest news

Woody Allen's debut

Behind the scenes

Links to more Talking Point stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |