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Update on AS movie: David Kelley insuring "philosophical soundnes

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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.

Yes, exactly. If a random person off the street tells you that Objectivists eat babies, then you're only going to give him so much credibility. If the head of "The Objectivist Center" does it, on the other hand...

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I think the movie would help sales of Ayn Rand's books, might help the books-to-schools project, and might help the ARI essay contests.

The goal of any producer would be to retain the heroism of the heroes and heroines. I think there's very little chance the producer would want to portray the hero as a "baby-eater". Rather, the real "risk" is that the producer will attempt to "tone down" the characters' extremes.

Some people may be deceived into thinking that AS is not as radical as they thought. Perhaps they will read it; or perhaps they will encourage their students to participate in the essay; or perhaps they will give it as a gift to a young relative. I doubt they'll make a movie that would turn someone off reading AS, when they otherwise might have read it. It is possible; but hopefully, the curious will still be curious to find out for themselves.

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I think there's very little chance the producer would want to portray the hero as a "baby-eater". Rather, the real "risk" is that the producer will attempt to "tone down" the characters' extremes.

LOL, just an example. Of course, you're right: the biggest danger is that it will be watered down. A watered-down Atlas could say "Compromises are okay. We do need to balance [good idea] with [awful idea]. We mustn't go to extremes."

For a nation dying from the compromise of its principles, that's a serious danger. And while Kelly isn't a baby-eater, he is a famous compromiser of principles.

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If the head of "The Objectivist Center" does it, on the other hand...

Oh, you mean the Institute for Objectivist Studies? I mean.. The Atlas Society? I mean.... um..

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The more I read about this project, the less excited I'm about it.

Kelly co-producing? Blech. This makes me fear it will be more "Heinlein Shrugged" than "Atlas Shrugged".

The trilogy idea sounds okay, but $40 million sounds a bit skimpy for a three part epic.

The noise about Pitt and Jolie also puts me off, too. With all their altruistic behavior regarding the third world and poverty, how could they be interested in participating beyond the acclaim for having starred in an epic film? I can see it now ... "I wanted to do this movie because of its powerful message; we shouldn't rely on government to fix the problems of the world, but instead turn to the example of people like Bill and Melinda Gates."

Plus, I just don't want to watch them in key hero roles ... totally wrong, IMHO.

I really think the purpose being dramatizing the book is to plant some key ideas in viewers' heads, inspiring them to read (or finish reading) the novel. I know how difficult it is defending Objectivism outside of comfort zones like OO.net - debating with people who never read Rand, or only read about half of AS, is hard enough. Imagine having to add "well, if you'd read the book and not just seen the movie, which gets selected scene wrong" to the discussion ...

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That was wrong. Just wrong.

Context, please.

It depends on how they're prepared.

'A Modest Proposal'-Jonathan Swift a la Gullivers Travels

It was a satirical proposal about what England should do regarding the "Irish Problem"

It depends on how they're prepared.

He actually goes into some detail on that account, if I remember correctly.

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I hear the Irish ones are especially tender.

Gotta have the right BBQ sauce. It's a modest proposal, really. :P

[edit, dang, missed the first ref to Swift by mere seconds!]

I can see it now ... "I wanted to do this movie because of its powerful message; we shouldn't rely on government to fix the problems of the world, but instead turn to the example of people like Bill and Melinda Gates."

icon8.gif

Exactly. And Kelly's just the sort to say "Yes, that's okay!"

Edited by Inspector

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The trilogy idea sounds okay, but $40 million sounds a bit skimpy for a three part epic.

That's just Lion's Gate's share of the first movie's budget. I expect with joint venture backers and whatnot the first one will cost about $70M, and maybe close to $150M for the whole thing if they save money by shooting them all at once. And I think the $40M is production money, so it wouldn't include any advertising, of which additional cost Lion's Gate would pay the lion's share. <grin>

Also, is Kelley actually co-producing? I'd think that's a bit out of his league. Associate Producer, maybe (see State and Main for this obscure film industry reference). But I'd pass the proverbial rectangular fired-clay construction element if he were actually co-producing. If you have a reference for that, let me know.

With all their altruistic behavior regarding the third world and poverty
I thought Jolie's reading initiative didn't totally suck. At least it wasn't pointless, like buying food and medicine for people who could never understand how to get these things any other way.

I know how difficult it is defending Objectivism outside of comfort zones like OO.net - debating with people who never read Rand, or only read about half of AS, is hard enough.

Determinists are awful. If you argue against the conspiracy, you must be part of it. Next stop: Arbitrary City, followed by Infinite Regressionsville, with connections to Contradiction in Termston and You Have No Evidece To Support That Theory ... Place.

-Q

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But I'd pass the proverbial rectangular fired-clay construction element if he were actually co-producing.

Inventive way to circumvent the expletive... :P

I'll have to remember that.

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I just don't want to see Jolie intertwine the movie junkets with her push for world education push that she seemd to be pushing. Doing nice things for people isn't necessarily a bad thing, it all depends about how you go about doing them. She is a spokesperson for one of UN's organizations after all. Jolie UN Spokesperson fact sheet

I have read in a few articles online that Jolie is a Rand fan. That may be the case. One of my best friends is a fan of Atlas Shrug, and was named after Dagny, but she is also very religious and altruistic as well. Just being a fan doesn't mean understanding or agreeing with Objectivism of course.

But, you know, many here have commented that there probably are many people that may actually pick up the book that never have even heard of Rand, Shrugged or Objectivism. So, let the movie be made.

But, if the movie DOES suck, it sure wouldn't hurt to flood the newspapers and online outlets with emails of protests...in the name of justice and all that.

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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.

If you are "unaware of the basis of a lot of those things anyway," then perhaps you ought not comment upon them without a bit of further study. All of the relevant sources are available online:

David Kelley first suggested the open system in A Question of Sanction. In his response, Leonard Peikoff rejected it, defending Objectivism as a closed system in Fact and Value. David Kelley then elaborated upon his "open system" view at length in the fifth chapter of Truth and Toleration. I've written two essays analyzing that chapter in detail: Ayn Rand on David Kelley and The Open System, One More Time.

I do think the major danger of David Kelley's involvement with the Atlas Shrugged movie will be his watering down of the philosophical message, e.g. Hank Rearden forgives rather than abandons his family, Dr. Stadler is redeemed somehow or portrayed as less evil than he is, the strong rhetoric of Galt's speech is watered down, Objectivism is presented as compatible with religion et al, and so on.

Edited by dianahsieh

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I do think the major danger of David Kelley's involvement with the Atlas Shrugged movie will be his watering down of the philosophical message, ... Objectivism is presented as compatible with religion et al, and so on.
Gosh. And some folks have said in this thread "It's OK to have bad representation of O'ism, so long as the AS movie is made" ? Come on. The above is just one bad example of it. All else equal, I would much rather have people openly oppose O'ism then water it down and then claim that is what O'ism is.

Anyone is up for some letter sending to AynRand center? Maybe, they can have an effect on the movie production while it is still fresh? Any thoughts on who would have the most effect? Would that be Peikoff?

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Gosh. And some folks have said in this thread "It's OK to have bad representation of O'ism, so long as the AS movie is made" ? Come on. The above is just one bad example of it. All else equal, I would much rather have people openly oppose O'ism then water it down and then claim that is what O'ism is.

Anyone is up for some letter sending to AynRand center? Maybe, they can have an effect on the movie production while it is still fresh? Any thoughts on who would have the most effect? Would that be Peikoff?

The letter isn't a bad idea. The folks at ARI seem to be good about responding to email.

I am just unclear, however, how effective ARI, or Peikoff could really be since he is the one that sold the movie rights? It's my guess that is why ARI is quiet about the whole thing to begin with. That's my only guess as to why they would be silence about it.

If anyone can think of another good reason for ARI being silent on it, I would love to read it.

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Neither ARI nor the Estate can do anything about the seemingly forthcoming movie, so don't bother writing to ask them. As Leonard Peikoff said in a lecture once, he sold the rights to someone he thought he could trust, someone he thought committed to Ayn Rand's philosophy. He was wrong -- but now he cannot do anything about that.

At OCON, Yaron Brook reported that they're already planning an anti-tie-in tie-in with the books in case the movie is actually made. (Instead of the ordinary tie in of "you loved the movie, now read the book," the campaign would deliberately highlight the differences between the movie and the book -- and the superiority of the latter.)

Moreover, although the movie is further along than it has ever been, I wouldn't get too worried until you hear that filming has begun. (That was another recommendation from someone who knows about such matters at OCON.) If that happens, then you'll want to think about writing letters to the editor and so on.

Edited by dianahsieh

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Letters, to be effective, should probably be written first to the producers (Baldwin Entertainment Group), then the backers (Lion's Gate), and then to the editors of respected industry media outlets. But the precise nature of Kelley's relationship to the film is a bit hazy: is he working with Hart (the writer), or with the Baldwins? How did he get involved? Did the Baldwins come to him, or vice-versa? Very important detail if an effective letter is to be crafted. Trying to persuade the producers to at least allow ARI to review and comment privately on the script before it's finalized is worthwhile: the Baldwins are, I think, capable of making a decent film of AS, moreso than a lot of other people out there, and I think the tack is to encourage them to at least investigate Peikoff's suggestions as an avenue towards that end. Even if they could be convinced to ask Peikoff for his comments on the script, and ultimately reject them, I think this would be better for Objectivism overall.

The second avenue, Lion's Gate, I think would be far less likely to be effective. They often make me say GAK! I don't think they'd really care if their major fanbase hated their film, because they're not spending $300M, and that fanbase (us) is still likely to see the film, if only to see how bad it is. I think they realize that people want to see an AS movie no matter how bad it might turn out.

But as Diana said, it's still too early to tell. The only catch is that the longer we wait for more definitive information, the harder it will become to make changes to the script, and the less likely it will be that our pleas will fall on receptive ears.

-Q

Edit for clarity.

Edit: to add this -

Ooh, I just remembered something. John Aglialoro is a fellow at TOC, and according to the quotes in the first post, he's co-producing, which means he doesn't have to sell the bulk of the film rights to Baldwin Entertainment Group. Only distribution rights to Lion's gate. I think I can say 'GAK!' now.

Edited by Qwertz

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(Note: Myron is a troll. Reply at your own risk. -GC)

For the record: unless Dr. Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's designated intellectual heir, is given final script approval, I will boycott the film.

"Men cannot be enslaved politically until they have been disarmed ideologically. When they are so disarmed, it is the victims who take the lead in the process of their own destruction." --Ayn Rand, "The Wreckage Of The Consensus"

Edited by GreedyCapitalist

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For the record: unless Dr. Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's designated intellectual heir, is given final script approval, I will boycott the film.

Peikoff gave up his rights when he sold the movie rights

I will see the movie and make my own judgement.

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For the record: unless Dr. Leonard Peikoff, Ayn Rand's designated intellectual heir, is given final script approval, I will boycott the film.

even if you hear on this forum and others that it does in fact end up philosophically sound?

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I will see the movie and make my own judgement.

I will probably see it too, I have to admit, unless the previews and reviews are really really bad.

I like to see how books I read translate into movies. Often it is not always a pleasant experience.

dianahsieh:

Neither ARI nor the Estate can do anything about the seemingly forthcoming movie, so don't bother writing to ask them. As Leonard Peikoff said in a lecture once, he sold the rights to someone he thought he could trust, someone he thought committed to Ayn Rand's philosophy. He was wrong -- but now he cannot do anything about that.

Diana, thanks for posting that. I haven't had a lot of sucess (or time really) to gete much information as to what happened, or to find his reaction. Reading that makes it easier to understand how TOC has been able to get involved with the movie.

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(Note: Myron is a troll. Reply at your own risk. -GC)

Wait. How does my insistence that Dr. Peikoff be given the right to approve the AS script make me a troll? Others such as Olex and Ian have said much the same thing on this thread.

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At OCON, Yaron Brook reported that they're already planning an anti-tie-in tie-in with the books in case the movie is actually made. (Instead of the ordinary tie in of "you loved the movie, now read the book," the campaign would deliberately highlight the differences between the movie and the book -- and the superiority of the latter.)

Moreover, although the movie is further along than it has ever been, I wouldn't get too worried until you hear that filming has begun. (That was another recommendation from someone who knows about such matters at OCON.)

Ooh, that's great info. Thanks-- I'd wondered if the movie had been talked about at OCON. That's the first report of it I've seen.

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If you are "unaware of the basis of a lot of those things anyway," then perhaps you ought not comment upon them without a bit of further study.

Yes, exactly.

Hunterrose: I want to put this in a friendly, constructive way, but you do that a lot. I know you want to learn, but you often end up putting in comments, instead of asking questions.

On a side note, the title of this thread needs the "insuring" and "soundness" to be in scare quotes.

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