Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged Nabs a Director

September 5, 2007
Source: Variety

Ayn Rand's famous novel "Atlas Shrugged" has been yearning for a feature film adaptation since it was first published in 1957. An adaptation has been in the works for a few years, including the writing of a 127-page script by Randall Wallace (Braveheart, Pearl Harbor). Finally Lionsgate has decided to bring on director Vadim Perelman (House of Sand and Fog, In Bloom) and move the film into production.

Although the script from Wallace isn't final, Perelman himself is going back in and working on the draft. The two (Wallace and Perelman) will put in time together the tweak it into what will hopefully be a masterpiece. Angelina Jolie has already been cast in the lead role and is just waiting for production to begin. No production date is set yet, but it's likely to begin in early 2008. The book revolves around what happens when great industrialists and thinkers go on strike and the world grinds to a halt.

I haven't seen Perelman's first film House of Sand and Fog, but I've heard nothing but great things all around. I can only assume that if this comes together great then it may be Perelman's big break.

Atlas Shrugged

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I am reading Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" right now, and I can honestly say that you should never, ever make a movie based on an Ayn Rand book. People always say when they see a film based on a book that the book was better... and in the case of Rand's work, if you intend to make a movie adaptation, you are setting yourself up for a colossal failure. Her stuff is so deeply philosophical, and I don't know how you could go about making a film that even partially represents her philosophy. When the Da Vinci Code movie came out, when they stripped out the religious things as much as they did, all that was left was a car chase and Tom Hanks doing a bad accent and a worse performance. The same will happen if this director takes on this movie - only a shell resembling the great work that is "Atlas Shrugged" will be left.

Derek on Sep 5, 2007


As an admirer of Ayn Rand and a supporter of her philosophy of Objectivism for over 40 years (don't let anyone tell you Ayn Rand is a phase the young grow out of), I am greatly torn over the prospect of an "Atlas Shrugged" movie. Of course there is no way a 1000+ page novel can be fairly represented in a movie only a few hours long, so there is a strong risk of a butcher job. Worse yet, even people who profess appreciation for Ayn Rand's thought can totally miss the point, in which case the movie might end up a hideous Frankenstein's Monster of mismatched pieces. On the other hand, worse novels have become excellent movies ("Gone with the Wind" and "Doctor Zhivago" come to mind), and "Atlas Shrugged" deserves its chance. Good or bad, the movie will bring more readers to Ayn Rand's novels and non-fiction, which could change their lives and eventually the culture. Only a philosophy of reason, individualism, and absolute rights can defend us from the Religious Right, the Green Left, Islamic fanaticism, and the mini-dictators like Putin and Chavez that keep popping up around the world. Objectivism is the philosophy the Founding Fathers needed but didn't have, which is why we have slid from giants like Washington and Jefferson to midgets like Clinton (either one) and Bush (either one). Whether before or after the movie, reading "Atlas Shrugged" may be the best thing you'll ever do for yourself.

Phillip Schearer on Sep 5, 2007


The likelihood of getting it right with the movie of Atlas Shrugged, in so far as at least not mangling or misrepresenting, seems reasonably high. I would've liked Jody Foster as Dagny Taggart. I've seen Jody both on screen and up close in real life, and she has exactly the critically intelligent, hard edged, passionate realism that the role calls for. I hope that Angelina can pull this off. If the director focuses on the Francisco D'Anconia take on life, then it could work, with the bubbling spring of good humor and style that Jolie has a'plenty of. For future contemplation, the cost and ease of really good, believable CGI and animation keep coming down exponentially. At some point it will be cheaper and a better experience to use virtual actors and sets (already more the rule than not for many cinematic needs) to produce a complete 100% word-by-word rendering, with options for changes of viewpoints, "hearing" the written thoughts of the actors, and expansion/compression of content. Ultimately, and not that far off, novels and other fictional and non-fictional writings will partake of the magic being worked in the great on-line games such as World of Warcraft and VRs such as Second Life, to be not only rendered in real-time but also ultimately to allow the viewer to enter the fictional world as a participant.

Phil Osborn on Sep 5, 2007


Joe Eszterhas mentions this movie in his Hollywood Animal memoir. Sharon Stone was going to star in it. This was back in the early 1990s, just after Basic Instinct and Sliver.

Mark on Sep 5, 2007


JEREMY NORTHAM AS JOHN GALT If you would like to see the brilliant Jeremy Northam as John Galt in the movie "Atlas Shrugged", please sign this petition which is being sent to Baldwin Entertainment, executive producers of the film.

bwlass on Mar 3, 2008


Have we heard anything more about this Alex?

Will S. (Co Springs) on Aug 12, 2008

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