Hidden away in this Daily Mail interview with Mel Smith is possibly the most terrifying George Lucas-related news since ... well, the last time there was some terrifying George Lucas-related news.
Smith once worked under Lucas as director of the ill-fated 1994 comedy Radioland Murders and says the Star Wars creator, not content with almost ruining his much-loved original space opera trilogy by inserting oodles of entirely superfluous CGI, is now planning to desecrate further great movie memories via his passion for digital effects.
"He's been buying up the film rights to dead movie stars in the hope of using computer trickery to put them all together in a movie," says Smith. "So you'd have Orson Welles and Barbara Stanwyck appear alongside today's stars."
We get the idea. The Mail seems to have a bit of a thing for this concept, which has been trialled in the new Tron film, in which 61-year-old Jeff Bridges appears opposite his much younger self. I wrote yesterday that the technology, which involves mapping an actor's face digitally and super-imposing it on to a younger model's body, is fast improving. That doesn't mean it's a good idea to use it.
One can imagine the odd occasion upon which the ability to bring Welles back from the dead might pay dividends – a time-travelling story, for instance. But ultimately, this kind of gimmick can only ever show audiences a copy of a copy of a copy. The cheap thrill of seeing a dead or elderly former star taking to the big screen in the full flush of youth once again will never be as joyous if it's tempered by the knowledge that they were recreated on an iMac by a geeky bloke in a Marin County special effects suite. Leave it alone, George!