Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

What if James Dean had lived?


Recommended Posts

Since the 60th anniversary of actor James Dean's death is approaching, USA Today ran a piece asking this question. I've always liked to think that he would have a long career similar to the one Paul Newman had. It was Newman who took over the role intended for Dean in "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (1956).

 

 

 

http://www.usatoday.com/story/life/people/2015/09/19/james-dean-lived/72483434

Link to post
Share on other sites

I think he would have fought against roles where he was typecast as an outsider/rebel. He would have tried other stuff, even if he failed at it. And he would have gone back and forth between Hollywood and Broadway and probably to Europe to do films overseas.

 

I think his career would have been full of twists and turns...but doubt it would have been like Newman's or Brando's. It would have been unique to James Dean. With ups and downs, like all actors. And if he had lived a long time, I am sure he would have wound up teaching at a place like the Actors Studio. He would have stayed relevant.

Link to post
Share on other sites

At least that looks better than Dean as the older Jett Rink in "Giant."

 

Yes. I never found the old-age makeup to be very convincing on him in GIANT. I am sure he would have looked different than that as he aged. 

 

In the ClassiCategories thread in the Games & Trivia section, we were discussing the way actors aged in films versus how they aged in real life. Someone mentioned Cagney's aging in YANKEE DOODLE DANDY which did not look much like he actually did when he was an old man (his face was much puffier in real life). And Stanwyck aged better in real life than she did in THE GREAT MAN'S LADY, perhaps due to the benefits of plastic surgery.

Link to post
Share on other sites

..then Paul Newman night have spent a career doing dinner theatre.

 

Not hardly. Newman and Dean would have co-starred in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." And Robert Redford would have had to wait a little longer for stardom.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Not hardly. Newman and Dean would have co-starred in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." And Robert Redford would have had to wait a little longer for stardom.

That sounds about right. 

 

I like the idea that later on James Dean would have done episodes of Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote. LOL

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well Dean could have ended up like Brando and cast as the heavy.   

 

Did Brando actually play heavies, or were many of his characters complicated anti-heroes? There is a difference, isn't there?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did Brando actually play heavies, or were many of his characters complicated anti-heroes? There is a difference, isn't there?

Maybe the better question to ask is what roles of Brando's in the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s would have been good ones for James Dean?

 

I don't see Dean doing that part in APOCALYPSE NOW any better. Do you?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Did Brando actually play heavies, or were many of his characters complicated anti-heroes? There is a difference, isn't there?

 

My comment about Brando and heavies was a joke related to his physical appearance latter in life and that the same thing could have happened to James Dean.    Yea,  maybe Dean would have aged like Paul Newman or Robert Redford,  but of course no one never knows.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My comment about Brando and heavies was a joke related to his physical appearance latter in life and that the same thing could have happened to James Dean.    Yea,  maybe Dean would have aged like Paul Newman or Robert Redford,  but of course no one never knows.

 

Ha! Sorry I didn't catch that one.  :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's possible he might still be alive today. Guess it matters

how many real life risks he took. We'll never know.

 

True that. He certainly liked fast cars. It brings to mind this eerie interview he did with Gig Young while filming "Giant."  Dean was killed 13 days after shooting it.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with other statements made here in the thread.  I think that if James Dean had lived, he would have taken a Paul Newman route with his career.  Eventually Dean would have to move out of the angst ridden teenager roles and perhaps Giant would have been the first step toward this change in his career.  He might have been able to milk a couple more anxious angry teenager roles in his career, but he would have wanted to take on other roles.  Dean, like Newman, was a method actor, and I think he would have continued taking on more challenging roles.  I imagine that he and Newman would have been in competition for the same roles.  Perhaps Marlon Brando would have been in the mix too, but even though both are Method, I don't think that Dean would have taken on Brando's 1960s and 1970s roles.  Brando's best roles (with the exception of The Godfather), in my opinion, were the ones he had in the 1950s, ones that he completed while Dean was still alive.  I can't picture Dean as "The Godfather." 

 

I can't really picture James Dean being a romantic lead, however, like Newman and Robert Redford.  I could also see Dean in some of Steve McQueen's roles, especially ones that involved racing.  Newman also liked racing too, so Dean may have been in contention for those roles.  Perhaps we could have had an all-star car racing movie starring Newman, Dean and McQueen.

 

I think James Dean would have continued to evolve his craft and continued to take on more challenging parts.  He would have eventually won an Oscar. Whether or not he would still be alive today? I dunno.  He did smoke a lot.  However, if he and the other stars of Rebel Without a Cause hadn't all died so tragically and so young, perhaps we'd end up with a Rebel Without a Cause sequel starring senior citizens--James Dean, Natalie Wood and Sal Mineo. 

 

It's all speculation and still so tragic, even 60 years later.  James Dean had his whole life, his whole career ahead of him, and he lost it.  Dean was driving fast but he was also the victim of a bad left turn made by the other driver. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I can't really picture James Dean being a romantic lead, however, like Newman and Robert Redford.  I could also see Dean in some of Steve McQueen's roles, especially ones that involved racing.  Newman also liked racing too, so Dean may have been in contention for those roles.  Perhaps we could have had an all-star car racing movie starring Newman, Dean and McQueen.

 

Yes, I think Dean's career track would have resembled McQueen's more than Newman's or Brando's. But Dean would have reinvented himself a lot. So there are a lot of unknowns that were never explored.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, I remember seeing that video a couple of times. Kind of sad.

I think that, barring any other accidents, Dean would likely have

had a solid movie career, though who knows exactly what it would

have looked like.

Ironic that Newman, who carried Dean's mantle into many films, liked "fast cars" even more than Dean, but in more controlled surroundings.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Ironic that Newman, who carried Dean's mantle into many films, liked "fast cars" even more than Dean, but in more controlled surroundings.

 

Actually DGF, Dean was on his way to Salinas CA in his newly purchased Porsche 550 Spyder and to in fact one of those "more controlled surroundings" you spoke of here to race it when that Cal Poly San Luis Obispo college student crossed into his path in central California.

 

And, from all estimates of Dean's speed at the time, he was probably just barely going over the posted 55MPH at the time when Donald Turnupseed(yep, that was the college kid's name alright) turned right in front of him.

 

(...and Paul Newman was also known to have driven his array of exotic and fast cars on public roads at rather fast clips too)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Why stop at just Dean?

 

Why not imagine him doing a movie with a theme song written by and performed by JIMI HENDRIX?

 

With a duet with JANIS JOPLIN?

 

And co-starring BRANDON DeWILDE?

 

Use the imaginations, kiddies!  This ain't FACEBOOK!

 

 

Sepiatone

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2021 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...