GAME: You Have A Movie Mogul's Ear

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Hello Gang,

How about a game?


You’ve just seen Spielberg’s _War of the Worlds_.

While waiting for your first course at that flawless but unknown bistro by the train yards, _H.A.’s_, you’re discussing how Hollywood product doesn’t need to be mind-numbing to make money.

Your mastery of esthetics, your passion, your understanding of the movie industry’s “physics,” and the endless examples you pull up to concretize your points, impress the Hollywood executive in the next booth.

When you mention that Hollywood refuses to make Ms. Rand’s novels into movies even though it’s been demonstrated any numbers of times that they can make money, the movie mogul comes over with a bottle of champagne and that raw bar platter with the 4 ounces of iced osetra he heard you pass on because of the price.

After swearing you to secrecy he sets the context:

- Because of the intensity and unpredictability of both the Special Effects War, and the Most Mindless Product War, his investors want to diversify the studio’s product line.

- After reviewing all available research, the studio has committed to testing the market by releasing one star-studded, “serious”, plot-heavy movie a year for the next three years. (This is a huge commitment, as one unprofitable movie can put a big studio “in the red” for the year.)

- The numbers indicate that a big-budget remake of “The Fountainhead” is the best way to launch this effort.

- He slyly reminds you of what everyone knows: there isn’t a single actor, director, or grip that can say “no” to him and/or give his producers a hard time.

- He’s committed to giving veto power to an ARI intellectual to assure that the final product stays true to Ms. Rand’s intentions (his rock-solid marketing team has assured him that upsetting the “Randites” will kill the movie).

His Qs:

1) How would your approach differ from the original film?

2) Who would you cast as Roark, Dominique, Cameron, Wynand, Keating, and Toohey? Why? (The make-up gurus can add or subtract up to seven years to a given actor’s age. At this time, careers are boosted when established actors gain or loose significant weight for a given role.)

3) Which well-known director would you pick, and why?*

4) Which cinematographer would you want, and why?

5) Which architect would you hire to design Roark’s buildings, and why?

(Please provide a link for each talent you name.)

* Given the millions of decisions a director makes, “The Fountainhead” should be directed by an Objectivist who has thoroughly integrated the philosophy into his life. No number of ARI intellectuals with veto power can make up for a director who either doesn’t “get it,” or “gets it” but doesn’t agree with it, or agrees with it but hasn’t integrated into his subconscious deeply – no matter how bright or benevolent he may be. Couple this with his obvious talent, and Mr. Paxton is the only real option for director. However, since I’m curious about which popular directors the membership likes, the game requires that the director be well known.


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I’ll get us started:

As many have said, I’d like to see the movie’s pace slowed down. The architecture used in the movie needs to be of the highest quality. No expense should be spared in the commissioning of the designs, realted sets, and the CGI-work needed for wide shots of the buildings.

Roark: Viggo Mortensen

Strong face. Good presence. There are worse actors out there.

For Dominique: Nicole Kidman.

Her presence gives her a decisive edge over my favorite Hollywood actress, the far more talented, far more alive, Kate Blanchett. ( ) (Just imagine both of these gals, in a Channel suit, standing over the granite quarry. Kidman, hands down.)

Cameron: Paul Newman.

Wynand: If the do-all be-all workout regiment can get him anywhere near an acceptable physique, I want John Malkovich.

Irrespective of scene, JM always comes across as thoroughly in touch with the ugliness too many non-Objectivists think of as “reality.” I like that presence in the actor portraying Wynand. Further, JM is a stronger actor than most household names.

Otherwise, Peter Coyoyte.

Not a big star but he has everything else.

Keating: Dermot Mulroney

His presence fits the bill, he’s somewhat known.

Toohey: Miguel Ferrer

Good actor, strong presence, great voice, can look evil with ease.

Director: Sam Mendes.

His theatre background comes through in his films in a why I enjoy. I like the visual feel of his movies, something I attribute to the fact that both of his films were shot by one of my favorite cinematographers (see next answer.)

Cinematographer: Since I just learned that Conrad Hall ( ) died a few years ago, I’m having a tough time with this one.

I’ll go with Emanuel Lubezki because of the feel of “Meet Joe Black.”

Architect: I don’t have one, which is one of the reasons I put this game together.

I love most of the Frank Lloyd Wrights I’ve experienced but he died long ago. Further, he hated cities and didn’t like skyscrapers – so he claimed. I love his Mile High design.

(Back in the 80s, a Japanese concern was thinking about a 500-story building in Tokyo. As soon as I saw drawings of this unbelievable undertaking in either _Popular Science_ or _Popular Mechanics_, I knew that Mile High was the main influence of the design.)

Comments would be appreciated.


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How would the approach differ from the original film: It would be in color, but I would keep Ayn Rand's original script.

Dominique: Nicole Kidman or Charlize Theron. Both are beautiful, strong, sensitive blondes.

Director: Michael Paxton. He understands Ayn Rand.

Architect to design Roark’s buildings: John Lautner, of course! He was the real-life Howard Roark. See and

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