Long before he became a household name, James Dean was little more than an aspiring actor in the late ’40s and early ’50s, struggling to make ends meet. What many of his admirers don’t know, however, is how influential photographer Dennis Stock proved in Dean’s trajectory from photogenic character actor to bona fide superstar, and it’s an arc that will underpin Anton Corbijn’s upcoming biopic, Life.
Starring Chronicle‘s Dane DeHaan in the title role as the rebel without a cause, Corbijn’s feature also includes Robert Pattinson as the photographer for LIFE magazine. Upon crossing paths with the budding actor after he wrapped up work on East of Eden, Pattinson’s Dennis Stock projects Dean’s name up in lights. Capturing the spirit of the cultural icon and his devil-may-care, Life will see the pair strike up an unlikely friendship across the course of a trip from Los Angeles to New York.
Interestingly for Corbijn – and indeed admirers of the filmmaker – the director had intended to retire following the release of A Most Wanted Man and George Clooney-led thriller The American. Alas, he recently gave a frank interview about his renewed interest in the filmmaking scene, and in many ways Life represents this enthused drive for art on the director’s part.
Anton Corbijn is primed to bring Life to select theaters in the States on December 4. Joining DeHaan and Pattinson are Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Kristen Hager and Kelly McCreary.
In 1955, ambitious Hollywood photographer Dennis Stock and the then still unknown James Dean meet at one of Nicholas Ray’s parties. Stock recognises in the young actor, who has just completed filming East of Eden, an extraordinary talent and hopes to further his own career via a series of portraits for “Life” magazine. Newcomer Dean is stressed by studio boss Jack Warner’s demands for him to get on the PR bandwagon for Elia Kazan’s film and goes into hiding in the country. Stock accompanies the camera-shy star to his native ranch in Indiana where he has his roots. Once back in New York, Stock captures the world famous image which keeps the legend alive to this day.
Source: Vanity Fair