Before James Dean became a cross-generational icon for teenage rebellion, he was just a another unknown aspiring actor with an impressive head of hair and an affinity for black coats. Director Anton Corbijn’s latest film, Life, chronicles the period right before Dean became a household name. The story focuses on Dean’s relationship with LIFE magazine photographer Dennis Stock, who pursued a photo essay on Dean as a “leader of a new movement.” Filled with internal conflict, Life explores the relationship between artists and the media, and questions how much an artist must expose their personal life to the public.
Still, Corbijn insists, the film isn’t necessarily about Dean or his rise to fame. “It is really the story of Dennis Stock,” he told Dazed. “We see it mostly through his eyes...and a lot of emphasis is placed on his side of the story and how he experiences this friendship. Jimmy and Dennis learn from each other; Dennis gets to look a little bit differently at his relationship to his son, and for James Dean it was quite interesting to have a friend with his own opinion, not a yes man. I don’t think Stock was that kind of guy.”
Life will be released September 25 in the U.K. and does not currently have a U.S. release date.