Today is a classic. A man who managed to change so much in his twenty-four years than a lot of people do in three times that. A lot of the enigma around James Dean is in death. What could he have become? What heights could he have reached? Was he gay like revelations after his death suggested.
The fact of the matter is that Dean just oozed cool. With his shifty eyes (down to refusing to wear his glasses when acting) down to his affection for engines and speed he set a precedent for how to be a man.
I think James Dean was one of the first actors I ever looked at and thought ‘I would love to be as cool as you’. It went as far as slicking my hair up a bit, and having bad eyesight but after a while I realised that wasn’t what was special about Dean. It was how dark he could go. Sometimes when you watch him act you can see a lost little boy crying out, he can take it all back to the tragedies he knew and express that. This must have truly blown people’s minds in the 50’s when performing on film was a direct point from acting on stage.
What I will always love about James Dean is the mystery swept up in it all. He’s one of those massive what ifs, one of the first, and he made us all try to be cool.