Some really great quotes here, not all 100% new I don’t think, but a good read all the same. From The Sydney Morning Herald:
When the actor James Dean died in a car crash in 1955, the second and defining film in his short career – Nicholas Ray’s Rebel Without a Cause – had just come out. Dean was 24.
East of Eden had put him on the map earlier that year; Giant was in the works. In retrospect, three films doesn’t seem much of a basis for what Dean was about to become: the embodiment of a generation’s bohemian disaffection with their parents’ post-war world. Fact was, however, they didn’t come any cooler than Jimmy Dean. They still don’t.
You can see that in the clutch of photographs taken of Dean for Life magazine by ambitious young Magnum newcomer Dennis Stock.
It was Stock who took the photograph that would grace millions of teenage bedroom walls in the decades to come, a photograph familiar even to people who don’t know who Dean was: Dean with his collar turned up against the wind in wintry Times Square.
It is that photograph that forms a kind of backdrop for Anton Corbijn’s new film Life, which traces the brief relationship between Stock and his equally ambitious subject.
Any actor would show due trepidation before agreeing to play James Dean, not just because of his hallowed status but because it would be so easy to slip unawares into mumbling, fidgeting parody.
Dane DeHaan, who is most familiar as Green Goblin in the recent Spider-Man films, kept saying no.
“I didn’t really think I could do it. Then I had a meeting with Ian Canning, the producer, and he explained to me how for him it wasn’t simply a movie about James Dean, it was a movie about how a normal person could be turned into an idol. Which I think is a really interesting topic.”
DeHaan felt some kinship with Dean, whom he describes as “a really bull-headed, uncompromising artist, pretty mistrusting of the world around him.”
From the start, as Corbijn shows, Dean was at loggerheads with the studio heads; Ben Kingsley does a spectacular turn as studio mogul Jack Warner, telling Dean exactly how much of a rebel he wants him to be.
“I know what that’s like, although I have a different take on it,” DeHaan says. “I don’t let it get to me as much as he does. When I made this film, it was right before the press tour for Spider-Man. There was this looming sense of what was going to happen, in the same way as before East of Eden came out.”