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"Atlas Shrugged" Movie

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After listening to the question and answer from Certainty and Happiness, here is a more accurate summary of what Dr. Peikoff said. This Q&A was recorded on August 5, 1988. I do not know if he would still hold to these points. (I want to point out that this is absolutely NOT a verbatim transcription and any errors in accuracy as to what Dr. Peikoff said are mine. Quoted portions are transcribed word for word.)

The question was about how to contain the Objectivist message in a movie.

Dr. Peikoff answered that he wanted to “de-escalate” peoples’ expectations, as “no movie will present Objectivism to the public.” He said that a movie could, at most, function as an advertisement that says “There is such a thing as a philosophy different from what you have heard, and here are some glimmerings of an indication. If you’re interested, read the book.”

Galt’s speech was to be condensed to 5 minutes. (At this point there was incredulous laughter from the audience.)

There are 5 key philosophic points to contain in the movie, and if they’re simply indicated – nothing more than a bare suggestion – Dr. Peikoff would consider it a 100% success, philosophically:

  1. The heroes stand for reason, and the villains for unreason.
  2. Reason is the source of material wealth.
  3. What one thinks is the source of one’s sex life.
  4. Selfishness is a virtue.
  5. Physical force is destructive.

He also said that Miss Rand had estimated that the movie could possibly be squeezed into 4 hours and 40 minutes.

My opinion? After the success of the Lord of the Rings movies, a much longer movie - or a trilogy - could be successful. The problem isn't length, it's whether the ideas would find a receptive audience.

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Dr. Peikoff answered that he wanted to “de-escalate” peoples’ expectations, as “no movie will present Objectivism to the public.” He said that a movie could, at most, function as an advertisement that says “There is such a thing as a philosophy different from what you have heard, and here are some glimmerings of an indication. If you’re interested, read the book.”

I think Dr. Peikoff said it best. The most we can hope from a monolithic presentation of Atlas Shrugged is a referal over to the book. Hopefully, people will be interested enough to pick up the book or check ARI or one fo the fabulous resources (like this one) about Objectivism. In a way, this will seperate the wheat from the chaf and the philosoph will attract the people who are truly interested in it and want to improve their minds.

Now if Grant Tinker had not cancelled the mini-series and Atlas Shrugged had been able to be presented like Martian Chronicles was in the early 80's in a 10 part mini-series, then my expectations would be very very high. Just like The Fountainhead failed to catch a great deal of the book, it did give the viewer a sense of what the book was about and lead quite a few people to read it.

I only hope that they don't create a version of the book to match the movie like has been done so many time before. Actually Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is the only decent adaption of a book into a movie that I've seen. It was faithfull to both the look and feel of the movie as well as contained enough of the book that you can literally follow along with the movie and book together.

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No, it doesn't necessarily mean it has been canned. Hopefully, James Hart, the screenwriter, is just spending lots of time making sure he gets the screenplay perfect.

:P

I hope the film makes it! But, to be honest, I think that the amalgamation with Paramount ( :pirate: ) will leave James Hart and all the rest :dough:s.

All one has to do is take a look at what that corporation did to Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek--they destroyed intelligent sci-fi.

Granted, the film make get made, but it will not be Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged even though it will be attributed to her.

:worry:

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I think Dr. Peikoff said it best. The most we can hope from a monolithic presentation of Atlas Shrugged is a referal over to the book. Hopefully, people will be interested enough to pick up the book or check ARI or one fo the fabulous resources (like this one) about Objectivism. In a way, this will seperate the wheat from the chaf and the philosoph will attract the people who are truly interested in it and want to improve their minds.

Mr. Peikoff is right--unfortunately.

I do agree with *scottkursk when he says check resources like this site which encourage one to think for him or herself, but I disagree with the aspect of looking to the likes of Mr. :pirate: who expect their word to be accepted. Some years ago I offered Mr. Peikoff an alternate opinion to one of his theses asking for his considered opinion, and I am still waiting, but not holding my breath, for a response that I know will never come.

:P

Edited by Melior

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Although, he is not available (and would now have been too old) for the role of Franciso D'Anconia, from the first time I ever read this book..I have always clearly pictured Gilbert Roland as Francisco D'Anconia. The had the bemused confidant smile, a rugged good face, the humor, and the proud carriage that helped define Francisco.

They need to find someone that looks like Gilber Roland for that role (he'd even played a 'Cisco' once before).

http://www.briansdriveintheater.com/gilbertroland.html

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After watching "The Interpreter"(a half-decent movie loaded with horrible premises) the other day, I think that Nicole Kidman would make an excellent Dagny Taggert.

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That will be Hart's first mistake.

He should set it in the present.

Taggart's Comet could be nuke-powered, or look like the EuroStar or Acela Express :D

All else remains the same, as the books central themes and plots are relevant to modern times AND "timeless."

I agree. The book is not really dated, but the movie - set just a few years in the future - can become dated very quickly, especially given the amount of surgery the story will have to undergo to make the transition.

There are many current events which suggest the course of events that'd be depicted in a modern screen version. However, there are an overwhelmingly large number of everyday events which would appear to be in contridiction of events which would have to be portrayed in the movie. Realistically, there are a large number of business entreprenuers worldwide that do positive things to promote respect for the Objectivist work ethic. Unlike the novel though, we don't have a John Galt, systematically collecting and removing the talent. The result is that we daily see both camps - the producers and the looters - and both camps are successful at recruiting.

The character of Dagny didn't see the looters winning, until the end of a chain of extraordinarily excessive abuses. Today's individuals do see some extraordinary abuses, but are also regularly witness to extraordinary examples of accomplishment and reward.

I expect that people watching the film - should it ever be made - will try to relate its events to what they see around them, and will be thus distracted from the deeper statement the book intended. Keeping to the book, to its alternate view - what might have happened if - instead of to the view - what could happen if - would be far more effective. Viewers can easily dismiss the alternative history angle to concentrate on the story, but are harder pressed to be convinced about their future.

For myself, I would think that with the right amount of time, money, and purpose, the book might be successfully 'modernized'. That still will not make it better, and given the trouble so far bringing this work to the screen, I doubt that it will get that dedicated treatment we'd all like to see.

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The movie instead of being set in the past, will be set 15 years into the future of this world.

So I am hoping the movie turns out to be really good. :(

I am not optimistic.

The novel was not set in any particular era. Of course, it reflects the time in which Ms. Rand wrote it...that's to be somewhat expected.

However, the attempt to lock the movie into a specific era will be it's undoing.

There are plenty of movies which maintain a "noir" feel without being set post WWII.

Atlas Shrugged could easily be "set" in the forties by costumes and set design; Fedora hats, tweed suits, vehicles, etc. The railroad needn't be "updated" to include Nuclear fission.

NOTHING need be changed about the story as presented in the novel in order to make a "successful" translation to the screen.

Those who are trying to change elements of it are simply demonstrating their second hander nature in much the same way the other architects in The Fountainhead did with the design Roark made and Keating submitted. They are trying to express their own creativity in the context of Ms. Rand's work.

They are vultures.

This movie should only be made by someone who properly understands how it should be made.

From what I have seen and read...that is not currently the case.

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John Galt- Brad Pitt

Hah, my wife would get a kick out of that choice.. but somehow, he just doesn't fit the image I have of Galt. We need more of a 'Rennassance man' for this part.

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I always read AS as set "fifty five years from fifty years ago," ie. how 2010 would have been imagined by people in 1955, particularly with that "everything that can be done has been done already" mentality with which people used to predict the future (Jane Jetson was a housewife who *always* wore a dress!) The wonderful thing about this kind of setting is that it allows for all sorts of interesting anachronisms which subtly tell the viewer volumes about what has happened to this world we're looking at - a noticeable lack of major air freight lines, but perhaps the cell phone having been invented would indicate a society which valued interpersonal communication over the transportation of goods and services. The lack of nuclear weaponry, but the invention of 'Project X' would send the (subtle, but unmistakeable) message of a government bent on destruction, but not of foreign enemies. The major problem with this sort of storytelling technique is that viewers (particularly the ones who don't care to think about their movies too much) can safely disregard the moral of the story as belonging to "that world" and that "we're doing things differently." Still, the book is a gorgeous work of art deco and film noir. Too bad the Chrysler Building looks too much like the Chrysler Building. If it weren't so familiar, it'd make a beautiful Taggart Terminal. (I passed on the Empire State because I think it's mentioned, whereas the Chrysler is not. I could be wrong about that.)

-Q

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A is A. A book is a book. A movie is a movie. I'm not really into the idea of atlas shrugged being "made" into a movie. I enjoyed and learned (most importantly) from the book that I doubt I would be expecting a great deal from the movie version. Usually, when this happens it turns out really bad.

(Fixed Caps -sNerd)

Edited by softwareNerd

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I hate to burst your bubble, but most people are stupid and the idea of including a 3-hour philosophical speech in a movie, while appealing to us dorky philosophy types, would be a surefire way to see that the movie is in the theater for less than a week.

I agree. I couldn't even get through the speech without having to go to the bathroom... twice :D

While Galt's Speech is important to the book it could be sparsed down in the movie. It's more important to get the overall themes across (the power of the mind, individualism, etc) then to have John Galt speak for hours. IIRC, Roark's speech at his trial isn't that long so that was ok for film. Also the shorter speeches like Francisco's could be worked in somehow where the charactor is "narrating" while there is somekind of action occuring on the screen.

I was listening to Rachmaninoff's #2 Piano Concerto the other week and closed my eyes as I saw the opening credits across the screen and the opening screen of Eddie walking up 5th avenue and entering JT's office. Oh boy, if I only had the skill and time I'd write the damn screenplay myself and get this thing going :)

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I agree on the idea of Atlas Shrugged being animated. I'd rather not read the book and then picture the faces of famous actors for the characters. Many of my favorite anime series are 24-26 episodes long. Basically, enough for one long season. Something like that would be great, though the only time we see one full season of any TV show in this country is when it gets cancelled. :/ Still, that amount of episodes would be enough to fit in enough important elements of the movie.

As for the speech, I say, trim it down to the bare essentials, and I agree about the montage. Give the viewer a chance to also see everyone's reaction. Not just the characters, but random people all over the country. Show the people who are understanding Galt's words, the blank or confused looks of the people who will never understand. People crying, people screaming, people smiling, etc.

I think that a one-season TV series is a much better idea than a movie.

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Hah, my wife would get a kick out of that choice.. but somehow, he just doesn't fit the image I have of Galt. We need more of a 'Rennassance man' for this part.

Danny Divito?

Hmm....

OH!!! Sorry! :P

I like the idea of Christian Bale as Galt.

Although...I could actually picture Danny Divito as one of the looters...He can make a great bad guy....

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Although...I could actually picture Danny Divito as one of the looters...He can make a great bad guy....

I think he most ressembles Orren Boyle.

Mr. DeVito, BTW, is an excellent comedic actor. Very talented.

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Liam as Hank Reardon just might work, and Kevin Spacey as James Taggart is perfect!

Antonio Banderas as Francisco is not bad at all.

John Galt is impossible to picture. Perhaps an unknown would be best. I agree that Brad Pitt is definitely a bad call.

Dagny is also hard. What about Keira Knightly? Is that nuts?

Robert Downey Jr as Cuffy Meigs.

Edie Falco or Cate Blanchett as Lillian Reardon.

Geoffrey Rush as Mouch.

Paul Giamatti as Mr. Mowen.

William H. Macy as Eddie Willers (too old?).

Christopher Plummer or James Coburn as Hugh Akston.

Jack Black as Philip Reardon.

Christian Bale as John Galt? Wow. That's pretty good.

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William H. Macy as Eddie Willers (too old?).

Yeah, I'm afraid Macy is a bit old for the part if you want to stay strictly true to the book. Eddie should be about the same age as Dagny; they were childhood playmates. But other than that, you're right--Macy projects just the competent-but-not-heroic image that defines Eddie. I guess it wouldn't hurt to just let Eddie be older in the movie and leave out any reference to his childhood; that's not important to the story.

I don't know if Tinky Holloway would make it into the movie, but if he does, Stanley Tucci has to play him.

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I'm trying hard to see if there's a spot for John Turturro. It's tough because he's nearly 50, but I could almost see him as Ragnar (assuming they took liberties with Ragnar's ethnicity). Hmm . . . .

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Woo hoo! Go Gillian. I (oddly) never thought of her for Dagny.

Emma Thompson, while I'm a fan, is too old. I just don't think that Jodi Foster is not attractive enough.

How about David Craig (the new James Bond) for Ragnar?

craig.jpg

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