Stephen Speicher

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in Atlas Shrugged movie?

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According to this source, and many others, Lionsgate has bought the rights to the film, and both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have expressed interest in playing John Galt and Dagny Taggart, respectively, in the currently planned movie version of Atlas Shrugged. Jolie is said to be a "longtime devotee" of Ayn Rand, and Pitt is said to be a "fan."

Maybe this movie will really, really, really, really be made this time around.

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I sure would love to see it finally done. Of major importance is that the theme of the movie be done properly and not watered down or distorted.

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According to this source, and many others, Lionsgate has bought the rights to the film, and both Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have expressed interest in playing John Galt and Dagny Taggart, respectively, in the currently planned movie version of Atlas Shrugged. Jolie is said to be a "longtime devotee" of Ayn Rand, and Pitt is said to be a "fan."

Maybe this movie will really, really, really, really be made this time around.

Wow! I sincerely hope it works out this time. That would be excellent casting. I'm a fan of both of them. And Angelina is probably the most beautiful and sexy woman in film today.

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Maybe this movie will really, really, really, really be made this time around.

I really, really, really, really hope this is true! :)

I also agree with Ed, that Angelina Jolie is the most beautiful and sexy woman in film today. But, I do not know her philosophy of life, and what the heck was she doing with Billy Bob Thorton? Of course my statements do not mean that she cannot translate Ayn Rand's philosphy to the screen.

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Wow! I sincerely hope it works out this time.

Well, Lionsgate certainly has the money for a first-class film.

That would be excellent casting. I'm a fan of both of them.

Me too, though the idea of Jolie playing Dagny will take a little getting used to. I think that Brad Pitt could do an excellent job as Galt. He is scoffed at and underrated by some, but I think he has demonstrated himself to be a very fine actor.

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I hope it does work out, although I do think that Angelina Jolie is a bit too voluptious for Dagny... maybe better as Dominique. Although AR lovingly describes the physical appearence of all her heroes, I don't think she was portraying Dagny as a physically astonishing woman -- maybe attractive, a generally attractive woman, but whose biggest beauty was on the inside. This would be in contrast to actually physically very attractive people, such as Franciso, and Dominique who as I understand it was a bombshell. So if my understanding is correct, Dagny would need more of that understated beauty, beauty that comes out more in the stature of form, rather than innately beautiful physical features.

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I agree that it would be great to see a movie of Atlas made. But for the life of me I can't see how Jolie can call herself a "devotee" of Ayn Rand. Her political philosophy is the exact opposite (this woman openly champions the Palestinians). She's a committed altruist through and through. If she even read Ayn Rand she learned nothing from it. Pitt is just as bad.

They may be attractive people but they both convey total intellectual vacuity. I could never see either of them as Ayn Rand heroes. Casting them would be good for the box office and that's important b/c I would want the film to be as successful as possible. But these two don't have 1/1000 of the stature neccessary to really play the roles.

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I agree that it would be great to see a movie of Atlas made. But for the life of me I can't see how Jolie can call herself a "devotee" of Ayn Rand. Her political philosophy is the exact opposite (this woman openly champions the Palestinians). She's a committed altruist through and through. If she even read Ayn Rand she learned nothing from it.

I have to agree with this. See this BBC interview:

(Being a goodwill ambassador) has given me a life filled with purpose. Who are we if we are not useful to others?

...

Rich and powerful nations need to be more fully invested in finding solutions for refugees, both through financial support for refugee operations and by placing solutions for refugees higher on the international political agenda. The rich nations could also do more, faster, to seize development opportunities to make sure that fragile solutions and peace are sustained in places like Afghanistan.

Wikipedia also states that "In a January 2005 interview with Reuters, Jolie criticised fellow actors and actresses for not being committed enough in helping others, and stated that she gives one-third of her income to charitable institutions."

I just can't picture her, as physically lovely as she is, playing Dagny, a woman proud of her ability to create wealth and secure in her knowledge that no other had a right to it.

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They may be attractive people but they both convey total intellectual vacuity. I could never see either of them as Ayn Rand heroes.
I just can't picture her, as physically lovely as she is, playing Dagny, a woman proud of her ability to create wealth and secure in her knowledge that no other had a right to it.

Do not confuse the personal views of an actor with his/her ability to portray a character in a film. What they can "convey" on the screen, whether it be "intellectual" or "proud," is a measure of their acting ability, not necessarily a reflection of the philosophy they hold. Also, it is one thing to identify what you think an actor conveys in real life, but, again, that does not necessarily reflect or restrict what a good actor portrays in a film. Anthony Hopkins convincingly portrayed a billionaire first-hander in The Edge and a psychopathic murderer in The Silence of the Lambs. What Hopkins personally "conveys" is something entirely different.

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Something else about this film. This is from the website of the man that owns the rights to the film. Read the summary and try not to puke:

http://www.baldwinent.com/prod_atlasshrugged.html

SYNOPSIS: Ayn Rand’s groundbreaking novel foresees an American future eerily similar to the future that America faces today. The politics of fear embodied by stringent government regulation and irresponsible foreign policy have driven American society to the brink of collapse. Against this backdrop, Dagny Taggart wrestles her corrupt and dissolute brother for control of their great-grandfather’s railroad conglomerate. Determined to live up to her ancestor’s name, Dagny steers the railroad through a minefield of government sabotage, domestic disintegration, and international terrorism. All the while the destruction of the American way is hastened by a mysterious force that is silencing the great thinkers of the day. Their disappearance inspires a universal sense of fatalistic dread that is summed up by the new popular catchphrase: “Who is John Galt?”

If this is what they intend to make, I would rather it not be made at all.

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I just can't picture her, as physically lovely as she is, playing Dagny, a woman proud of her ability to create wealth and secure in her knowledge that no other had a right to it.

I agree with this. I don't think that either Pitt or Jolie are good actors. Actually, I think they are quite the opposite. Further, they don't have any stature to them at all, no depth. I don't think there would be a snowball's chance in hell that they would be able to do the rolls of Galt and Dagny justice.

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I am in agreement with Stephen -- the personal philosophy of the actor is really immaterial as long as he or she can convincingly play the part. The huge popularity of both actors means the film will be successful at the very least.

Pitt and Jolie are both good (and very beautiful) actors. Jolie doesn't quite have the look I envisioned for Dagny (too overtly sensual), but they could have done much, much worse. Brad Pitt is a current favorite of mine (second only to Johnny Depp). I've been really impressed with his work. He may be a pretty boy, but he can definately act.

It's a shame Harrison Ford is much too old now to play Hank Rearden.

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Something else about this film. This is from the website of the man that owns the rights to the film. Read the summary and try not to puke:

http://www.baldwinent.com/prod_atlasshrugged.html

SYNOPSIS: Ayn Rand’s groundbreaking novel foresees an American future eerily similar to the future that America faces today. The politics of fear embodied by stringent government regulation and irresponsible foreign policy have driven American society to the brink of collapse. Against this backdrop, Dagny Taggart wrestles her corrupt and dissolute brother for control of their great-grandfather’s railroad conglomerate. Determined to live up to her ancestor’s name, Dagny steers the railroad through a minefield of government sabotage, domestic disintegration, and international terrorism. All the while the destruction of the American way is hastened by a mysterious force that is silencing the great thinkers of the day. Their disappearance inspires a universal sense of fatalistic dread that is summed up by the new popular catchphrase: “Who is John Galt?”

If this is what they intend to make, I would rather it not be made at all.

I am unsure what you see in this synopsis that is so awful. Please explain.

Also, for interest:

Scott Holleran's 2003 interview with James V. Hart (screenwriter for the adaptation of AS)

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Pitt and Jolie are both good (and very beautiful) actors. Jolie doesn't quite have the look I envisioned for Dagny (too overtly sensual), but they could have done much, much worse. Brad Pitt is a current favorite of mine (second only to Johnny Depp). I've been really impressed with his work. He may be a pretty boy, but he can definately act.

I have some reservations about Jolie as Dagny, but with the proper script and direction Brad Pitt could make an excellent John Galt. I agree that he is a very fine actor; just look at his roles, but one year apart, in Meet Joe Black and then Fight Club.

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Rose Lake:

"irresponsible foreign policy"

Where exactly is that in Atlas Shrugged?

"international terrorism"

Where is that in Atlas Shrugged?

"The politics of fear"

This is clear Leftist language. In fact it seems that they are trying to turn Atlas Shrugged into an anti-Bush rant.

May I ask Rose, what in the synopsis that you found so good?

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To make matters worse, one of the co-owners of the rights of Atlas is a trustee of The Objectivist Center. This would explain that GodAwful, philosophical trainwreck of a synopsis. Here are some links. You may have to do some scrolling:

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:AMQPMH...us&ct=clnk&cd=5

http://bidinotto.journalspace.com/

(my goodness, Bidinotto of all people)

http://72.14.203.104/search?q=cache:BBlWD0...us&ct=clnk&cd=1

If its associated in any way with TOC, you can rest assured that no good will come of it. Read Diana Hessiah's blog posts on all things related to TOC (especially their gross philosophic errors) to see why.

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Rose Lake:

"irresponsible foreign policy"

Where exactly is that in Atlas Shrugged?

"international terrorism"

Where is that in Atlas Shrugged?

"The politics of fear"

This is clear Leftist language. In fact it seems that they are trying to turn Atlas Shrugged into an anti-Bush rant.

May I ask Rose, what in the synopsis that you found so good?

Did I say that I found it so good? No, I did not. I just wanted to hear what you thought was so bad. Maybe I am more pessimistic than you: I expected much, much worse. This sentence (which contains two of the phrases that you found so offensive) seems true to me: "The politics of fear embodied by stringent government regulation and irresponsible foreign policy have driven American society to the brink of collapse." Government was regulating business into extinction, and the politicians in charge of American foreign policy were irresponsibly using their power to distribute the wealth of the creators to foreign Peoples' States, which is why Ragnar sinks the ship with the loot on it.

I'm not sure about international terrorism. What do you think?

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I am already familiar with Diana's website, and with how bad TOC is. I also supported a rational interpretation of two of the three phrases from the synopsis which you found so grievous. And strictly as a synopsis, I still do not judge it as bad.

And I agree that the link to TOC is bad news indeed. But that was not the issue of my post.

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To make matters worse, one of the co-owners of the rights of Atlas is a trustee of The Objectivist Center.

The movie rights to Atlas were sold to John Aglialoro by Leonard Peikoff a number of years ago. And the issues you raise were discussed to death three years ago when BEG became involved. Let's not turn this interesting news of the possibility (only the possibility) about Jolie and Pitt into an overly pessimistic focus on the movie. There are positive potentials here too. James V. Hart has done some first-rate work, and his interview with Scott Holleran that Rose Lake pointed to is itself cause for optimism.

Anyway, the main point of this thread was that distribution through Lionsgate is real, and big names such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are at least being mentioned as possibilities. It appears that for the first time in these many years all of the essential elements for a real production are actually or in the process of being assembled, which itself is amazing for those of us who have gone through decades of hopeful but ultimately failing opportunities for production of an Atlas Shrugged movie.

Read Diana Hessiah's blog posts on all things related to TOC (especially their gross philosophic errors) to see why.

That's "Diana Hsieh." And no one here on THE FORUM should need to be reminded of the philosophical corruption of TOC.

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I do and I offered enough reasons why.

I disagree. You may have reasons for reacting badly to some of the phraseology. And you (and I) have reason to hold TOC in contempt. But these objections do not make the synposis, as such, wildly inaccurate.

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Let's just wait and see... the synopsis is not the last we'll hear of this, so good or bad signs will become more clear as things develop. But I too want to consider this on a positive note, especially that big actors are expressing interest in an Ayn Rand movie. Maybe we can hope for a repeat of the 1943's "The Fountainhead", where enormously famous actors (the likes of Humphrey Bogart) all coveted the roles in the movie for themselves. Bogart, if I remember correctly, wanted being part of the movie so much that he severed his contract with the movie studio (a huge thing in those days), when they did not secure him the role. It would be nice if the same thing happened here.

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Rose Lake:

"irresponsible foreign policy"

Where exactly is that in Atlas Shrugged?

Francisco shook his head regretfully. "I don't know why you should call my behavior rotten. I thought you would recognize it as an honest effort to practice what the whole world is preaching. Doesn't everyone believe that it is evil to be selfish? I was totally selfless in regard to the San Sebastián project. Isn't it evil to pursue a personal interest? I had no personal interest in it whatever. Isn't it evil to work for profit? I did not work for profit—I took a loss. Doesn't everyone agree that the purpose and justification of an industrial enterprise are not production, but the livelihood of its employees? The San Sebastián Mines were the most eminently successful venture in industrial history: they produced no copper, but they provided a livelihood for thousands of men who could not have achieved in a lifetime, the equivalent of what they got for one day's work, which they could not do. Isn't it generally agreed that an owner is a parasite and an exploiter, that it is the employees who do all the work and make the product possible? I did not exploit anyone. I did not burden the San Sebastián Mines with my useless presence; I left them in the hands of the men who count. I did not pass judgment on the value of that property. I turned it over to a mining specialist. He was not a very good specialist, but he needed the job very badly. Isn't it generally conceded that when you hire a man for a job, it is his need that counts, not his ability? Doesn't everyone believe that in order to get the goods, all you have to do is need them? I have carried out every moral precept of our age. I expected gratitude and a citation of honor. I do not understand why I am being damned."

"international terrorism"

Where is that in Atlas Shrugged?

"Ragnar Danneskjöld in Delaware Bay?" a woman gasped.

"Oh, yes. They say it is not the first time."

"Did they catch him?"

"No."

"Nobody can catch him," said one of the men.

"The People's State of Norway has offered a million-dollar reward for his head."

"That's an awful lot of money to pay for a pirate's head."

"But how are we going to have any order or security or planning in the world, with a pirate running loose all over the seven seas?"

"Do you know what it was that he seized last night?" said the spinster. "The big ship with the relief supplies we were sending to the People's State of France."

"How does he dispose of the goods he seizes?"

"Ah, that—nobody knows."

"I met a sailor once, from a ship he'd attacked, who'd seen him in person. He said that Ragnar Danneskjöld has the purest gold hair and the most frightening face on earth, a face with no sign of any feeling. If there ever was a man born without a heart, he's it—the sailor said."

"A nephew of mine saw Ragnar Danneskjöld's ship one night, off the coast of Scotland. He wrote me that he couldn't believe his eyes. It was a better ship than any in the navy of the People's State of England."

"They say he hides in one of those Norwegian fjords where neither God nor man will ever find him. That's where the Vikings used to hide in the Middle Ages."

"There's a reward on his head offered by the People's State of Portugal, too. And by the People's State of Turkey."

"They say it's a national scandal in Norway. He comes from one of their best families. The family lost its money generations ago, but the name is of the noblest. The ruins of their castle are still in existence. His father is a bishop. His father has disowned him and excommunicated him. But it had no effect."

"The politics of fear"

--------

"Issues of principle are such a nuisance," said Dr. Ferris, smiling, "and such a waste of time for all concerned. Now would you care to be a martyr for an issue of principle, only in circumstances where nobody will know that that's what you are—nobody but you and me—where you won't get a chance to breathe a word about the issue or the principle—where you won't be a hero, the creator of a spectacular new metal, making a stand against enemies whose actions might appear somewhat shabby in the eyes of the public—where you won't be a hero, but a common criminal, a greedy industrialist who's cheated the law for a plain motive of profit, a racketeer of the black market who's broken the national regulations designed to protect the public welfare—a hero without glory and without public, who'll accomplish no more than about half a column of newsprint somewhere on page five—now would you still care to be that kind of martyr? Because that's just what the issue amounts to now: either you let us have the Metal or you go to jail for ten years and take your friend Danagger along, too."

As a biologist, Dr. Ferris had always been fascinated by the theory that animals had the capacity to smell fear; he had tried to develop a similar capacity in himself. Watching Rearden, he concluded that the man had long since decided to give in—because he caught no trace of any fear.

I think the above addresses your questions. Those elements are in Atlas Shrugged.

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I am always of two minds when I hear about making a movie of Atlas. I long to see a good movie of the story, of course. I would be thrilled beyond words - but only if the integrity of the story is maintained. This is where that second mind comes charging in: is this likely to be done in today's Hollywood? The thought of having something I cherish so greatly remade to the exacting standards of mediocrity certainly gives me pause (and a greater understanding of Dominique :)).

I think I have to come down on the side of making the movie. Even if it is corrupt, it may inspire people to read the book. At the very least, it will spark discussions which may be used to our advantage.

Johnny Depp is beautiful enough, and fully able to play Francisco. I suppose Pitt is capable of playing Galt; I'm not that familiar with his work. But Jolie is not my idea of Dagny. At all. Miscasting Dagny could do in the whole movie. If you can't be made to be empathetic with Dagny, you won't give a damn about the story.

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