Few Hollywood icons have haunted the American cinema quite like James Dean. On one hand, this is due to his stirring, visceral performances in such classics as Rebel Without a Cause and East of Eden, both of which would easily land on any decent list of the best American films ever made. More than that, however, its the legacy Dean left as a star and the images of him that still resonate a surpassingly cool iconography to this day that really makes him such a figure of obsession. Those photos of him are the main inspiration for Anton Corbijn‘s upcoming Life, which follows the relationship that formed between Dean, played here by Dane DeHaan, and Life Magazine photographer Dennis Stock, played by the increasingly remarkable Robert Pattinson.
The trailer follows a somewhat predictable path, showing Stock’s immediate interest in the movie star, his developing relationship with Dean, and Dean’s own chaotic relationship with the mechanisms of fame, including a not-so-kind relationship with studio heads, represented here by Ben Kingsley as a cigar-chomping Jack Warner. The film also co-stars Joel Edgerton as Stock’s boss, John Morris, who is clearly not immediately won over by the outwardly hip Dean and his cool, progressive style; at one point, he criticizes taking pictures of Dean drunk and drinking. Still, even if the story comes off as a bit predictable, this is an Anton Corbijn film, and each frame looks more gorgeously composed and loaded with period detail than the last. From the looks of it, the filmmaker’s portrait of Dean will end up being just as haunting as Control, his striking biopic of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis.
Check out the trailer below: