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Update on AS movie: David Kelley insuring "philosophical soundnes

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http://www.lfb.com/index.php?action=help&a...ive.html#071306

The summer seminar of The Objectivist Center is now over, and reports are coming in about what the moviemakers working on a film version of Atlas Shrugged have to say about their progress. Filming has not yet begun, but a script has been drafted, and the plan is to shoot the epic as a trilogy. (No word yet on whether there will be a ten-hour Part II-b for Galt's Speech.)

LFB author Robert Bidinotto, the editor of TOC's New Individualist magazine and the man who scripted The World of Atlas Shrugged, has the scoop at the Bidinotto Blog:

* The final go-ahead "deal" was signed on June 29. The film is well-capitalized, with Lionsgate -- the studio that produced the most recent Oscar-winning film, "Crash" -- investing $40 million or more for initial production effort.

* The plan is for the film to be shot and shown in three parts, as a trilogy, like "Lord of the Rings." Only that length, they said, would give sufficient scope to tell Ayn Rand's long, complex story. (The initial $40 million would go mainly to Part I.)...

* The first draft of the script for Part I has been completed by James V. Hart, a veteran screenwriter among whose major credits are "Contact," "Hook," and "Tuck Everlasting."

* Philosopher David Kelley -- founder, past executive director, and now Senior Fellow of The Atlas Society (formerly The Objectivist Center) -- has worked closely with Hart to insure the screenplay's philosophical fidelity to the novel.... [Kelley] rates the screenplay about an "8" out of a possible "10." (The screenplay is likely to undergo additional changes -- we hope that means "improvements" -- during production.)

* Howard and Karen Baldwin of the Baldwin Entertainment Group -- which produced the outstanding Oscar-winning hit film "Ray" -- are co-executive producers, along with John Aglialoro, who holds the screen rights to the Ayn Rand novel on which the film will be based.... They are absolutely committed to a film that does justice to Rand's novel.

* The Baldwins similarly insisted that they wanted a great film, one that in no way undermines or does a disservice to Rand's ideas or characters. They clearly love the novel. Karen Baldwin declared that the novel's heroine, Dagny Taggart, may well be the greatest female character in all of literature. In selecting a director, they said, one of their first questions is: "When was the last time you read Atlas Shrugged?"... Another thing that impressed everyone is that the Baldwins were clearly there to listen to devoted fans of the novel, and to get our input. They opened up a long Q&A session with the admonition to us not simply to tell them what we wanted to see in the film, but also what we didn't want to see. Satisfying the dedicated Rand readers appeared to be a big priority, and audience members gave a great deal of excellent input.

* The Baldwins revealed that they have been deluged with major stars who want to play in the film. While they were eager to hear our suggestions for various characters, the only name they emphasized, repeatedly, was Angelina Jolie for the Dagny role. They made it very clear that Jolie wants to play Dagny very, very much -- and that other actresses (e.g., Ashley Judd), while possibly excellent for the part, might not have the stellar box-office appeal that would allow the film to be a huge success, especially abroad....

* One personally gratifying anecdote. According to Karen Baldwin, when Jolie showed up for a meeting with them to discuss the film, she had in hand a copy of the "Celebrity Rand fan" issue of The New Individualist (edited by Yours Truly), whose cover featured herself and Brad Pitt. Baldwin told me that Jolie really enjoyed it....

To repeat, the entire audience was terribly excited by the presentation, and even many long-time skeptics and doubters attested to becoming converts. Bottom line: 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.

Relative star status is probably being overstressed in the minds of the moviemakers. If the movie is done well, it's going to be a box-office juggernaut no matter, world-wide (and even if the script includes the phrase "the American Way," conspicuously omitted from the new Superman flick "Superman Returns").

Here's some information that Bidinotto probably doesn't have, but which we were able to glean thanks to our global contacts: the daughter of LFB owner Kathleen Nelson, Jennifer, "hates the idea" of Jolie as Dagny. Jennifer wants to play Dagny and thinks the moviemakers should hold off production until she's ready to take on the role. "Maybe the producers 'get it,' but the actors they apparently want to cast do not. They're going to have a hell of a directing job on their hands...ugh."

With everything about the production, as it seems, right on the cusp, further delay doesn't seem too likely, especially given the fact that everybody has been waiting breathlessly for an Atlas Shrugged movie since 1973, when word of an imminent production was first announced. If an Atlas movie project falls through at this point, all hope of its ever being done is likely to be swallowed up in the most pitiless cinematic black hole.

Jennifer will graduate with a degree in theatre from the University of Montevallo in December, so if she's not old enough to play Dagny perhaps the producers can audition her for another role.

Edited by neverborn

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I would definately pick Ashley Judd over Angelina Jolie. Jolie tends to bug me when I see her in films or interviews. :-/

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From what I remember from school, if they want to put "Based on the novel by Ayn Rand" or "Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged" anywhere on the film or advertising, they'll have to get permission from Peikoff (since he and ARI own a trademark on her name). The TM is restricted to "printed matter, namely, brochures, newsletters, educational and instructional materials concerning the literature, teaching, philosophy and study of objectivism" and "educational services, namely, lectures, instructional workshops and seminars concerning the literature, teaching, philosophy and study of objectivism" according to USPTO, and I believe that advertisment (and any text which is part of the images of the film) for a film adaptation counts as 'printed matter concerning the literature of Objectivism.'

This is of course only the case if the film rights the Baldwins bought don't already include the right to use Rand's name. Which they might. They already definitely include the right to use the title.

I did find this obnoxious little quote on their site, though: "But while Rand was still alive, she had script approval, complicating the process." Though now that I think about it, it might be a good thing. Depending on how the script approval clause was written, it might have been inherited along with the rest of her estate by Peikoff and ARI. Though if Kelley's been involved, I doubt this is the case.

We should start a letter writing campaign.

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Angelina Jolie is not how I imagine Dagny at all, like I have said elsewhere, someone like Angie Harmon would be better.

Also I think Leonard Peikoff should be the philosophical consultant. Didn't he promise AR he would have Atlas made in to a movie before he died? His involvement would give the movie a lot more meaning for that reason, and also his depth of knowledge on Objectivism is probably the greatest of any individual.

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It's funny that this topic was posted, I was thinking about this in bed last night.

I would like to see the leads should be played by older, more established actors. I think Mel Gibson would be great as either Rearden or Galt - especially given his appreciation for Western values as evidenced in the roles he has chosen in movies like Braveheart, The Patriot, and Ransom. Even his support of The Passion Of The Christ, while certanly flawed philosophically, shows that he is an fairly independent thinker who cares about ideas.

Also, I think Harrison Ford would be well-suited since he just looks like he belongs in films set in 20th Century America. His brilliant performance in The Fugitive comes to mind.

As for Dagny, I'm not so sure - but definitely not Angelina Jolie. I'm thinking more along the lines of Diane Keating or Susan Sarandon. Or, if she absolutely must be young and sexy, how about Julianna Moore or Julia Roberts, or maybe even Scarlette Johannson

- Grant

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Diane Keating

Would this be considered a "Randian slip"? :lol:

It's Diane Keaton.

Humor aside, Sarandon is 59 and Keaton is 60. Too old for Dagny I'm thinking.

Edited by RationalCop

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Talk about the fox guarding the henhouse...

Ugh, for real. I must say I'm more worried about what DK will try to do to the script than I am about which actors end up getting the starring roles.

Edited by Bold Standard

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The fact that they want to keep the basic philosophical message is good enough for me. This movie will mean an explosion for Objectivism, and that's what I'm most excited about. People all over the world will pick up Ayn Rand's novels again. We'll have many more people migrating to Objectivism after reading her novels. The sooner this is out the better. I guarantee there will be an enormous surge in Ayn Rand's philosophy the 5-10 years following the movie. Wonderful, just wonderful. Just what we need.

:lol:

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Yes, but I think that what we think is the philosophical message in the books and what DK thinks is the philosophical message can be completely different on some very important points. From what I've read TOC hasn't been terribly effective lately, and if they let that filter through into the movie it might just turn a whole lot of people away from the philosophy... If they misrepresent the actual position of Objectivism on a lot of points then that might not attract too many people, but we will see how much of the work's integrity remains standing, so to speak :lol:

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Clearly the producers would be fools not to wait for young Jennifer. How could they be so blind?... ugh.

Angelina Jolie will look amazing and act beautifully as Dagny. I don't see why people are not happy with that casting decision.

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The fact that they want to keep the basic philosophical message is good enough for me. This movie will mean an explosion for Objectivism, and that's what I'm most excited about. People all over the world will pick up Ayn Rand's novels again. We'll have many more people migrating to Objectivism after reading her novels. The sooner this is out the better. I guarantee there will be an enormous surge in Ayn Rand's philosophy the 5-10 years following the movie. Wonderful, just wonderful. Just what we need.

:lol:

I shudder to think what David Kelly considers the basic philosophical message of Atlas Shrugged to be. I just hope the estate of Ayn Rand has maintained some kind of rights of oversight over this, however slight. So the rumour is that DK has read the entire script and made extensive notes? Hmm.

Well, still, I hope you're right, ex_banana-eater. : )

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Also I think Leonard Peikoff should be the philosophical consultant. Didn't he promise AR he would have Atlas made in to a movie before he died?

As I understand it, he promised Miss Rand before she died that he would let the movie be made if he believed someone had a reasonable chance of doing so, regardless of whether or not it would be done well. It was her oppinion that you could not make a good movie of AS but that even a bad one would draw attention and readers to the book.

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It was her oppinion that you could not make a good movie of AS but that even a bad one would draw attention and readers to the book.

That's good, because I think we'll at least get a bad one. :lol:

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David Kelley has been deliberately and actively undermining the basic principles of Objectivism for years now.
Mayhaps, but how would this compare to any other non-Objectivist having an overseeing role?

We should start a letter writing campaign.
Campaigning for what?

The fact that they want to keep the basic philosophical message is good enough for me.
Agreed.

Yes, but I think that what we think is the philosophical message in the books and what DK thinks is the philosophical message can be completely different on some very important points.
I don't know... is there any significant part of AS that, based on Kelley's stances, you'd say Kelley would likely change?

Clearly the producers would be fools not to wait for young Jennifer. How could they be so blind?... ugh.

Angelina Jolie will look amazing and act beautifully as Dagny. I don't see why people are not happy with that casting decision.

Indeed. Hopefully Jolie haters, including this no-name Jennifer, won't win out... ugh :lol:

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Mayhaps, but how would this compare to any other non-Objectivist having an overseeing role?
Well, "any other non-Objectivist" probably wouldn't be pretending to be an Objectivist, now would he? He wouldn't claim his disagreements with the philosophy to be part of the philosophy. He wouldn't be advocating a pragmatist view of sanction, injecting the mind-body dichotomy into moral judgment, offering Kantian views of objectivity, embracing dishonest critics of Ayn Rand under the banner of openness and tolerance, substituting statistics for principles in ethics, grossly misrepresenting the views of genuine Objectivists, endorsing Muslim organizations, or rejecting the fundamentality of philosophy -- at least not under the banner of Objectivism. He might misunderstand the philosophy at various points, but he wouldn't represent himself as an expert, nor rationalize his claim to the title "Objectivism" with an appeal to an "open system" according to which Objectivism can mean pretty much whatever anyone wants it to mean. A reasonably honest non-Objectivist would also not publish blatantly false attacks upon the Ayn Rand Institute and its scholars. In short, he wouldn't be the mind behind an organization that consistently misrepresents and betrays the basic principles of Objectivism.

Need I continue?

Edited by dianahsieh

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In short, a non-Objectivist can only do so much damage, since any mistake he makes will be legitimately the fault of a hollywood adaptation, something that is well known by the general public to happen.

However, if a pretender like Kelly, who claims to speak for "Objectivism" makes those same mistakes and endorses them as being the "official position of Objectivism," then this could be very damaging indeed.

As Diana points out, his position is very far from Objectivism on a good number of points.

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Well, Peikoff gave up his rights when he sold the movie rights, so well, that's why HE isn't involved. I have to say I find that interesting that he would sell it, but hey, Rand left it to him, so it was his to do with what he wished. For him to try to get involved now and interfere with the process of the movie may be difficult and legally impossible.

I am not a fan of the TOC or whatever they go by nowadays, but if they stick to the novel I don't think they can screw it up too badly so I won't worry about. Now, if they try to put it happening a few generations later than it did and have Libertarian connections or something, or have some sort of altruistic connections THAT would be wrong. I don't want to see Pitt as Gault either, but if he is, so be it...he just better do a good job. He isn't a bad actor, I just don't see him in that role. Not a huge fan of Jolie either, but I think she could pull Dagny off, but ug...would HATE to see her promote the movie along side of her altrustic missions at the same time..... :confused:

Chris Noth would be an Awesome Reardon, btw.

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Need I continue?
Well, I don't know. I think some of that itself may be a bit misrepresenting (does Kelley really think Objectivism can mean anything that anyone wants it to mean?) but I am unaware of the basis of a lot of those things anyway.

At any rate, I see little reason to suspect that Kelley's going to have Willers entering the Gulch or Galt forgiving Stadler.

If a pretender like Kelly, who claims to speak for "Objectivism" makes those same mistakes and endorses them as being the "official position of Objectivism," then this could be very damaging indeed.
Damaging? How so?

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Damaging? How so?

Any time you have someone who can "speak from authority", many people will tend to believe them. If while "speaking from authority" one misrepresents the issue being evalutated, that can lead people to false beliefs about the issue, thus causing beliefs separated from reality. In that respect, if Kelly uses the story to misrepresent Objectivism, he will damage the ideas and principles it contains by misrepresenting them to mean something other than what they mean. Any evaluation of the philosophy on those misrepresented ideas is not reliable and does a great injustice to Objectivism.

Edited by RationalCop

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(does Kelley really think Objectivism can mean anything that anyone wants it to mean?)

This is the logical extension of "open system." In fact, he uses the term to mean whatever he wants it to mean, explicitly disregarding AR's intentions, so why couldn't any one do the same thing?

As to a precise answer to the question, I find it somewhat difficult to conclude for sure what people really think, exactly, when they have a reputation for dishonesty and inconsistency.

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