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Lisa Cuddy on House M.D. as Dagny Taggart

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I just watched 5 to 9, the latest episode of House M.D., which was mostly about Director Cuddy instead of being all about House for once. According to my tear-O-meter, it was one of the best TV episodes I’ve seen in a long while.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot for this episode, but if anyone ever gets off their encounter-suited butts and produces Atlas Shrugged the movie, this actress gets my vote for Dagny Taggart. She’s smart, sensitive, subtle, sexy and strong. She directs a world-class teaching hospital, managing the strong egos of an entire hospital of doctors and staff like she was herding a room full of cats. Ok, she gets scratched once in a while, but it comes with the territory, and she somehow manages to outstubborn most of the cats into getting what she wants and deserves.

She has a major challenge where she ultimately has to stand alone against a lot of people, and puts everything on the line for what is truly the right and objectively just thing to do. It also happens, for once, to be the elitist thing to do. Also, in the situation, she takes advice from many of her peers, and there is an “Atlas” moment where she realizes her job is on the line, and House comments that she will probably just cave in and give them what they want and still probably keep her job, because she can’t not keep doing what she does. He was implying that she just doesn’t have it in her to do the moral thing. But House being House, that was his reverse psychology trying to help her see what she might not accept if he just said what he meant outright, and that would just take them to a more rational plane where they would have to admit their affinity for each other. But bottom line, it wasn’t House manipulating her, it was her deciding to do the right thing on her own, in spite of manifest excuses to avoid taking responsibility and having an emotional escape hatch. She was the epitome of a rational man, in Ayn’s sense.

The actress who played Lisa Cuddy in this episode would make an exceptional Dagny, as her portrayal of Director Cuddy in this morally noteworthy scenario shows she has the chops to lend Mrs. Rand’s novel the authenticity it deserves.

Anyone know anyone who can pass this along to whoever holds the rights to the movie? (or the casting director?)

Stay Focused,

<Φ>aj

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I don’t want to give away too much of the plot for this episode, but if anyone ever gets off their encounter-suited butts and produces Atlas Shrugged the movie, this actress gets my vote for Dagny Taggart. She’s smart, sensitive, subtle, sexy and strong.

I haven't seen that ep, but that's Dr. Cuddy in essence. The actress who plays her, Lisa Edelstein, does a great job, too.

However an actor is only one half of a TV or movie character. The writing is the other half (the direction figures, too, but writing trumps it). The most important thing as regards characters in any script is to write them well. No actor can make a character more than he's written out to be (ask Alec Guiness).

The unfortunate part is that Lisa Edelstein is too old to play Dagny :P

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I loved the new House episode too. I was afraid at first that this episode was going to be preaching national healthcare but I was pleasantly surprised. I love the way Dr. Cuddy handled the bogus malpractice lawsuit. It was great to hear Lisa say it's right for doctors who spend years developing their skills to be well compensated. The entertainment industry doesn't say that very often.

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The unfortunate part is that Lisa Edelstein is too old to play Dagny :P

Seems the current backers agree with you as I just found this in imdb:

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Comments:Producers in talks with Charlize Theron to possibly adapt this as a mini-series.

Status Updated:28 January 2010

More Info:See more production information about Atlas Shrugged (2011) only on IMDbPro.

Note:Because this project is categorized as being in production, the data is subject to change; some data could be removed completely.

--------------

Personally, I'd rather not have to watch Aeon Flux do Dagny, as Atlas isn't primarily about physical but moral courage and that requires an actor with the gravitas to pull it off at the scale required. (Railroad tycoon anyone?) This isn't a judgement on Charlize's acting abilities, just the physical aesthetic she has shown. And a well cast younger actor could do the scenes from Dagny's earlier years, as the main story takes place during the pinnacle of Dagny's career/deprogramming.

<Φ>aj

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She's only a little too old (Early 40's instead of late 30's) and I'd rather have the characters in an AS movie be actual mature people, personally.

Personally I agree. But going by Hollywood's biases, she doesn't stand a chance. Back when she was an ocassional guest on Sports Night, playing a reporter named Bonny if memory serves, she'd have been a shoo-in. Of course back then she hadn't played a character of Cuddy's caliber.

BTW speaking of her character in House, I like that she keeps House around despite all the agravation simply beacuse he's too good a doctor not to have in her hospital.

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I just thought of something. The actors who played Andrei ni WTL and Roark n TF were also too old for those roles. I think Gary Cooper was in his mid 40s when he played Roark. So maybe...

Yeah, but that was a different time.

If we have to go with a younger actress for Dagny, I'm voting for Anna Torv. And Hugh Jackman would make a TERRIBLE Galt. He's so BULKY. (Handsome, yes, but he's still a big guy.)

Personally, I'd like to see Christian Bale as Galt. No, really. No, seriously. Or possibly Francisco. Then you can have Robert Downey Jr. for Rearden, because he's just about 10 years older than Bale. Although he might be a bit too disheveled-looking for that. He looks pretty good there, though.

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There were two morally anti-Objecitivst actions performed by Cuddy during the course of the episode.

Firstly, the lawsuit brought on by the man who had cut off his finger was legitimate. The finger was re-attached even though he explicitly asked for it not to be. He cannot be charged for a service he did not want and did his best to avoid. The doctor knowingly went against the patients orders and could be criminally liable. (both morally and legally)

As much as I would like a plasma TV, if Best Buy broke into my home and installed one without my consent I would be under no obligation to pay for it.

She should have understood this and settled, the man would have been perfectly happy paying for the services he DID ask for, and he said as much.

Secondly, she attempted to blackmail the CEO of the insurance company she was in negotiations with. Her ammunition was to be his wealth which we can assume he obtained by being competent, or even good at his job. This reminds me of Rearden's breakthrough in understanding the nature of his enemy in Atlas. They use his virtues as tools of blackmail.

It is possible that the CEO did not make his money honestly, but since no evidence was presented, I can only guess that the audience is to take it as a given that mega-wealth (owning your own jet etc.) is a moral crime in itself.

Otherwise another enjoyable episode of one of my favorite shows.

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There were two morally anti-Objecitivst actions performed by Cuddy during the course of the episode.

Firstly, the lawsuit brought on by the man who had cut off his finger was legitimate. The finger was re-attached even though he explicitly asked for it not to be. He cannot be charged for a service he did not want and did his best to avoid. The doctor knowingly went against the patients orders and could be criminally liable. (both morally and legally)

Agreed.

Secondly, she attempted to blackmail the CEO of the insurance company she was in negotiations with. Her ammunition was to be his wealth which we can assume he obtained by being competent, or even good at his job. This reminds me of Rearden's breakthrough in understanding the nature of his enemy in Atlas. They use his virtues as tools of blackmail.

It was to be a campaign about how the insurance company, with all their money, and who claimed to be the best and give the best care, wasn't willing to *pay* comparable rates FOR the best care despite paying far more to other less capable hospitals. That's just good PR. Blackmail involves threatening to reveal something another party has done that is immoral or illegal or both. The insurance company was not acting immorally OR illegally. The ins. company may very well have known that 12% was actually a reasonable demand, however - and the threat to go public with how Big Ins. Co would pay 12% to Wekillyou General but not to Werethebest Hospital would raise questions about why not when Werethebest was the best. Again - good PR.

Also, recall how Dagny Taggart responded to the threat of blackmail in her own situation - she went public about her affair with Reardon. If Big INs. Co had nothing to hide in their refusal to give Cuddy the same deal, why not go public first?

So I don't really think the negotiating tactic was a problem - after all Cuddy's and the Ins. Co's patients WERE going to be affected by this failed deal. If it's going to affect their treatment, don't they get to know why?

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Her facial proportions have always looked really off to me. Chin too short, forehead too large, jaw too wide (for the size of her chin, that is, I like wide jaws on women most of the time). Not that she's not pretty enough in her way, the proportions just bug me. I have similar problems with Jennifer Garner, quite apart from her permanent vapid look.

Anyway, Cuddy insisting on payment was not inappropriate--she was doing her job. It was a bit inappropriate for Chase to go ahead and reattach the thumb without permission, but if the guy had come in unconscious they'd have done it anyway without asking. It might have been appropriate to demand that Chase pay for the part of the surgery that wasn't covered by the insurance because Chase took it upon himself to make the decision, but that would have set a bad precedent in the world that hospitals must operate in nowadays. Trying to convince the beneficiary to accept the *rational* conclusion that he'd benefited from the surgery and was, indeed, obligated to make good was a perfectly appropriate thing to do.

And notice that when he sent in a check to start making payments, Cuddy tore it up, which was also an appropriate and *generous* thing to do. With the new 12% payment plan from Atlantic Net, they could probably afford to write off the $16K hit as long as the insurance company wasn't suing them.

It's easy, as an outside observer, to sit back and say "The guy wants to be irrational? Fine, fuck him." We're not dealing with a hurt and frightened man and a thumb that's already starting to decay. We're not trying to size up the legitimate possibility that he might sue for malpractice if we DON'T reattach his thumb. (After all, in retrospect, he was clearly not in his right mind when he made that decision.)

The thing I didn't get about that scenario, though, was "why doesn't this man have Workers' Comp?" Unless he was at home working on a personal carpentry project, whatever company he was working for is liable for the costs of his injury. (I broke my arm on the job and they paid for the X-Rays and doctor's visits.) Even if you're an independent contractor, the person/company that hires you is still liable. (Found that out in New York--the company I worked for was required to purchase Workers' Comp insurance for our contractors even though they lived in different states and worked out of their living rooms.) Oh well, in creating drama, writers often miss out on little details like that.

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Her facial proportions have always looked really off to me. Chin too short, forehead too large, jaw too wide (for the size of her chin, that is, I like wide jaws on women most of the time). Not that she's not pretty enough in her way, the proportions just bug me. I have similar problems with Jennifer Garner, quite apart from her permanent vapid look.

Fair enough. I will leave you with this though :D

"A sweep of brown hair fell back, almost touching the line of her shoulders. Her face was made of angular planes, the shape of her mouth clear-cut, a sensual mouth held closed with inflexible precision."

That is from the first meeting of Dagny on the train. I believe there is another spot in AS where she is described as having an unusual sort of beauty, an unconventional kind of look.

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Oh my gosh that's Bones! Wooo Bones! (Though I still find it jarring to see David Boreanaz in his Booth role since I was so conditioned to think of him as Angel)

I just recently started watching Bones and I enjoy the show. However, it bothers me that she's basically a female Mr. Spock and Booth more of a sentimental Mulder. I'm kind of annoyed at the regular "logic and emotions are mutually exclusive" representation popular with TV and Hollywood.

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The thing I didn't get about that scenario, though, was "why doesn't this man have Workers' Comp?" Unless he was at home working on a personal carpentry project, whatever company he was working for is liable for the costs of his injury. (I broke my arm on the job and they paid for the X-Rays and doctor's visits.) Even if you're an independent contractor, the person/company that hires you is still liable. (Found that out in New York--the company I worked for was required to purchase Workers' Comp insurance for our contractors even though they lived in different states and worked out of their living rooms.) Oh well, in creating drama, writers often miss out on little details like that.

Illegal alien perhaps?

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  • 1 month later...

The message is the important thing in a movie of Atlas Shrugged.

No Hollywood film will present the message because it is opposed to everything that Hollywood (and the mass media) holds dear.

In fact, I doubt that a movie of Atlas Shrugged will be produced until after the current American crisis is concluded and the structure of politics and Hollywood have changed. erhaps on the centennial of the book's original publishing.

Given all that, I think the message of Atlas Shrugged would be best served with a relatively unknown cast (as done by Lucas in Star Wars) or with a cast of "character" actors with faces that are recognizable, but with names that most people do not remember. Most of them are better actors than those on the Hollywood "A" list.

As director, I would have to consider the core beliefs of any actor before I thought them capable to represent Atlas Shrugged to the public on film and off, and many "A" list actors would never be considered on that basis.

I try not to support the enemies of my beliefs.

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Just for grins...from the "A" list

Dagny Taggart...............Cate Blanchett/ Diane Lane/ Naomi Watts

John Galt.......................Hugo Weaving

Henry Rearden...............Russell Crowe

Lillian Rearden...............Helena Bonham Carter

James Taggart...............Sam Rockwell

Midas Mulligan................Bruce Willis

Eddie Willers..................Brad Pitt

Francisco D'Anconia.......George Clooney

Nat Taggart...................Harrison Ford

Ragnar Danneskjöld.......Viggo Mortensen

Wesley Mouch................Robert Rubin

The message is the important thing in a movie of Atlas Shrugged.

No Hollywood film will present the message because it is opposed to everything that Hollywood (and the mass media) holds dear.

In fact, I doubt that a movie of Atlas Shrugged will be produced until after the current American crisis is concluded and the structure of politics and Hollywood have changed. erhaps on the centennial of the book's original publishing.

Given all that, I think the message of Atlas Shrugged would be best served with a relatively unknown cast (as done by Lucas in Star Wars) or with a cast of "character" actors with faces that are recognizable, but with names that most people do not remember. Most of them are better actors than those on the Hollywood "A" list.

As director, I would have to consider the core beliefs of any actor before I thought them capable to represent Atlas Shrugged to the public on film and off, and many "A" list actors would never be considered on that basis.

I try not to support the enemies of my beliefs.

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