One of the original tough guys and a true American icon.

The advertisement features imagined scenes from Dean’s life had he survived the car crash that killed him in 1955 at the age of 24.

The actor can be seen receiving a lifetime achievement Oscar, directing his own film, racing cars, leading a protest against the Vietnam War and campaigning on a humanitarian mission.

The commercial for investment firm Allan Gray, ends with the slogan “Given more time, imagine the possibilities”.

The 60-second black and white film was created by advertising agency King James and filmed by director Keith Rose from Velocity Films. It took 14 months to create and required 300 cast members and a crew of more than 150 people.

James Dean“This was an incredibly challenging board,” said Mr Rose. “You just take it for granted that James Dean is so iconic, so to go and mess with him, and replan his life, if stuff like that doesn’t work it’s like you’re desecrating his memory. We really needed to deal with it with sensitivity.”

“We looked at the best in America,” said Grant Davies, the film’s producer. “We even searched through all the entrants at the small town James Dean look-alike competitions they have every year at county fairs across the Midwest. Ultimately we ended up coming back home and we found the perfect man for the job right here on our own doorstep.”

The winner was Des Erasmus, a mechanic from Cape Town.

He underwent two months of coaching to walk, talk and smoke like Dean and required a combination of make-up, CG face replacement, prosthetics, and body doubles to bring the legendary actor to life. [via]

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