Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Update: Atlas Shrugged

From The Liberator:

Atlas Shrugged movie: A Trilogy -- Starring Angelina Jolie?

by James W. Harris

After decades of false starts and disappointments, plans are quickly coming
together for a major Hollywood film version of Ayn Rand's seminal individualist
novel Atlas Shrugged.

A deal has been signed. A major studio is producing it. Funding has been
secured. A script has been drafted. Major stars are eagerly seeking the roles --
including Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie, who very much wants
the lead role of Dagny Taggart.

Further: plans are for it to be shot as a *trilogy*!

Some background: The novel Atlas Shrugged played a major role in the formation
of the modern libertarian movement (although Rand never called herself a
libertarian and was critical of what she perceived as libertarianism).

Rand's complex, epic and controversial novel is, among other things, a
thriller, a romance, and an uncompromising philosophical defense of personal
and economic liberty and individualism.

The book has been a publishing phenomenon since its publication in 1957. It has
never been out of print in hardback and has sold millions of copies worldwide.

A 1999 Modern Library reader survey ranked it as the number one book published
in the 20th century. In 1991, the Library of Congress commissioned a nationwide
survey seeking books that changed the lives of their readers. First was the
Bible; second was Atlas Shrugged.

So what's the latest on this eagerly anticipated movie?

According to Robert Bidinotto, editor of the New Individualist magazine,
published by The Objectivist Center:

* Lions Gate studio -- the largest and most successful independent film
distributor-studio in North America -- will invest $40 million or more for the
initial production effort.

* Because of the complexity and length of the story, plans are for the film to
be shot and shown as a trilogy (like "Lord of the Rings").

* Those involved with the film -- from executive producers on down -- are
strongly committed to keeping Rand's philosophical vision intact and to making
a truly landmark, extraordinary film.

* A draft for the first part of the trilogy has been finished. The writer is
James V. Hart, whose major film credits include "Contact," "Hook," and "Tuck

Hart, like others involved with the film, seems deeply committed to the
project: "Ayn Rand created extraordinary events and powerful characters over
fifty years ago in her visionary novel, that are suddenly coming frighteningly
true all around us every single day. This is a big, important challenge as a
screenwriter and a great privilege."

* Hollywood megastar Angelina Jolie is extremely interested in the lead role of
Dagny Taggart, and she has told the executive producers that she very much
wants to keep the character true to the novel and use as much of Rand's actual
dialogue as possible.

* The producers say they've been contacted by many other major stars eager to
be in the movie.

So when can we hope to see it? Says Bidinotto:

"The next step in the production is hiring the right director. [Executive
producers] mentioned several candidates, but expect that search to be over by
the fall. Once a director is announced ... production will accelerate at a very
rapid pace. Expectations are that the rest of the casting and the filming would
take place in 2007, the fiftieth anniversary of the novel. While they would
love to release the film next year to coincide with the anniversary, they
believe it is more likely it will be released in 2008."

Summarizes Bidinotto: "It looks like this grand tale will be made, at long
last; and more important, it looks as if everyone connected with the production
is dedicated to doing it right."

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