Stephen Speicher

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie in Atlas Shrugged movie?

142 posts in this topic

I can see your reasoning for saying international terrorism and politics are addressed in Atlas Shrugged but your quote for foreign policy confuses me because it is not really what is meant by foreign policy. A businessman's international business dealings are not what people think of when you say "foreign policy". It means a nation's policies toward foreign nations. The fact that America is sending foreign countries aid is irresponsible (and immoral) foreign policy but it is so minor a point in the story that I can't imagine why it would be included in a synopsis.

Overall I think this is good news and think Pitt is a very good, possibly great actor. I know he can portray a heroic figure well, because he did an excellent job as Achilles in Troy, although the movie overall did not live up to my expectations.

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I meant to type "politics of fear" in the first line of my last post.

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I can see your reasoning for saying international terrorism and politics are addressed in Atlas Shrugged but your quote for foreign policy confuses me because it is not really what is meant by foreign policy. A businessman's international business dealings are not what people think of when you say "foreign policy". It means a nation's policies toward foreign nations. The fact that America is sending foreign countries aid is irresponsible (and immoral) foreign policy but it is so minor a point in the story that I can't imagine why it would be included in a synopsis.

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If you're addressing my quotations, then I see your point in that the quote is not directly about foreign policy. However, in societies with controlled economies, one can be sure than any action taken by businessmen would not be allowed unless it expressed the foreign policy of the country. I don't believe Atlas really goes into detailed, concrete foreign policy decisions that specific politicians (such as Congressmen or Senators) would be directing. One can properly assume, though, that interactions between citizens of unfree countries are an expression of that foreign policy. It the case of Francisco, it was clearly planned well in advance that he would be allowed to develop the mines and that the Mexican governement would seize them at an appropriate time.

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I don't believe Atlas really goes into detailed, concrete foreign policy decisions that specific politicians (such as Congressmen or Senators) would be directing. One can properly assume, though, that interactions between citizens of unfree countries are an expression of that foreign policy. It the case of Francisco, it was clearly planned well in advance that he would be allowed to develop the mines and that the Mexican governement would seize them at an appropriate time.

I agree, but the fact that Atlas doesn't go into much detail is what is concerning about the synopsis. The use of the words "irresponsible foreign policy" seems purposely done to draw parallels to current times to make it seem relevant and important while downplaying the extreme importance of the philosophy in the book.

I don't think one early synopsis should be used to dismiss the whole film, and I don't think anyone is trying to do that, but like others have said it makes me wary that we may get a watered-down, politicized(not Objectivist politics) Atlas Shrugged, where the philosophy is more of a side note.

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At the bottom of the interview with James Hart that Rose linked is a link to another article, 'Atlas Shrugged,' Take Five. It briefly presents Baldwin's vision for the movie:

Past attempts to make Atlas Shrugged into a movie have failed, though Crusader president and CEO Howard Baldwin is arguably better prepared than his predecessors. He has read Rand's gigantic novel, he has hired a top screenwriter and -- consistent with Rand's literary philosophy -- he's already thinking larger than life.

"Our goal is to adapt the book without any restrictions," Baldwin said during an exclusive interview with Box Office Mojo from his office in Beverly Hills. Baldwin said it's too early to peg the project as a three-hour movie, a miniseries or even a trilogy. "It may be two movies, it may be three," he teased. "We want to tell Atlas Shrugged properly."

Because of this and Hart's apparent devotion to the screenplay as seen in his interview, I have high hopes for the film. They seem serious about doing it and doing it well, despite technical difficulties in transferring it to the screen.

As far as Jolie, I agree she's a more sumptuous Dagny than I would have imagined. However, that's not so important. I think Jolie could play the part very well because she can walk with purpose and has an intense quality to her expression that I associate with Dagny. Besides, I haven't heard anyone say that they're considering Pitt and Jolie. The brief on Rotten Tomatoes says that the actors are interested. Hart mentions Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, and Ashley Judd as plausible Dagnys; and Carole Lombard as his ideal.

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Besides, I haven't heard anyone say that they're considering Pitt and Jolie. The brief on Rotten Tomatoes says that the actors are interested.

The mention in "Rotten Tomatoes" is just one of dozens of news stories on this today, many of which seem to have picked the story up from today's Variety (4/27/06). That text was not available online this morning, or I would have linked to that article. It is available now, right here. In the Variety article, this is what they say about Pitt and Jolie.

As for stars, [the] book provides an ideal role for an actress in lead character Dagny Taggart, so it's not a stretch to assume Rand enthusiast Angelina Jolie's name has been brought up. Brad Pitt, also a fan, is rumored to be among the names suggested for lead male character John Galt.

This is indeed speculation, though of a somewhat informed kind, so the report just offers the possibility for Pitt and Jolie.

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I was really glad to see mention of this on the Drudgereport. Very good advertising!

Also, speaking of issues of quality in the potential movie's script, doesn't the Estate of Ayn Rand still have some say over the script? I thought I recalled something to that effect, but I'm not sure.

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I was really glad to see mention of this on the Drudgereport. Very good advertising!

Also, speaking of issues of quality in the potential movie's script, doesn't the Estate of Ayn Rand still have some say over the script? I thought I recalled something to that effect, but I'm not sure.

Okay, if this were most any other forum, then I would have some trepidation about asking the following question, but I'm hoping that some of you die-hards will be able to check my memory!

Someone else on THE FORUM must have heard the episode(s?) of "Philosophy: Who Needs It" a.k.a. "The Leonard Peikoff Show" on radio several years ago when he discussed the then recent purchase of the film rights. I could swear that he said something on the order of: 1) "The movie at least will amount to an advert for the book." 2) "I generally approve of the most recent script submitted." 3) "It won't be possible under current circumstances to do the book justice."

Under the circumstances, (save for a radio transcript maybe?) none of what I'm saying here can be taken too seriously, but doesn't ayone else recall more or less the same gist???

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tps, I recall the same general types of comments from Peikoff, from even longer ago, that one shouldn't expect too much of an Atlas Shrugged movie, but that it would create more interest in the book.

My guess is that if the movie producers intend to make the movie successful and make money, they'll remember the general rules of moviemaking and focus on plot and conflict, with the philosophy being implied by their actions and relatively short discussions.

If Jolie and Pitt can be signed at attractive terms, that means that the movie can virtually be assured of making money, which means it will be made. I think Jolie and Pitt could provide at least adequate performances, and they may learn something in the process of making the movie. Jolie will probably think she's Dagny Taggart for a while. But it's going to be hard to fit her 3 men into less than 3 hours. Maybe the Francisco backstory will be dropped, and it becomes a Rearden vs Galt triangle. Maybe the characters of Galt and Francisco will be merged, as hard to imagine as that is. I think the movie will have to focus on the conflict and plot, not the philosophy, but that's probably a good thing for Objectivism. If the movie can get people interested in the plot/story, they may read the book, which is the only thing that can coherently convey the philosophy.

Key conflicts I suspect would be highlighted in the movie:

Rearden & Dagny vs. James & the world in the John Galt line building section

Stay vs. Strike in the accelerating decline of the world section

likely tied to the question of "Does Dagny choose Rearden or Galt?"

I'd much prefer a two-part movie, as that would be much more capable of faithfully following the novel, but I doubt that will be done, and I doubt a single movie could be allowed to go much longer than 2hr30min. I'd be satisfied if the movie could be made as a competent action/romance flick without explicitly betraying the Objectivist philosophy. A competent love story would be a lot better than a new "Battlefield Earth".

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Also, speaking of issues of quality in the potential movie's script, doesn't the Estate of Ayn Rand still have some say over the script? I thought I recalled something to that effect, but I'm not sure.

I am not positive but I have heard that if he does not like the script he can only withold use of Ayn Rand's name, but otherwise he has no control over the content.

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Someone else on THE FORUM must have heard the episode(s?) of "Philosophy: Who Needs It" a.k.a. "The Leonard Peikoff Show" on radio several years ago when he discussed the then recent purchase of the film rights. I could swear that he said something on the order of: 1) "The movie at least will amount to an advert for the book." 2) "I generally approve of the most recent script submitted." 3) "It won't be possible under current circumstances to do the book justice."

We have the tape around here somewhere, but generally I recall comments similar to what you describe. But those comments were in reference to an entirely different script, not the one in recent development by Hart. That said, I think that Hart has the potential for a really first-rate script.

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The most philosophically explicit book I've seen transformed into a movie recently was "Starship Troopers", and it was an utter disaster. I'd be very surprised - agreeably so - if it were different this time, although obviously the director's vision is what will decide this.

Personally, I think Jodie Foster would be an infinitely better Dagny than Jolie, even though she is a much less attractive woman, physically. I cannot conceive of a better fit that Depp for Francisco - he can better than anyone display both the lazy, cynical early act and the intense, purposeful reality of the latter part of the book. Pitt would be good for Galt too, although I think someone less obviously pretty would be a more interesting choice. But he's so talented that he could pull it off.

Rearden is going to be the most difficult character to cast, in my opinion. Maybe Russell Crowe...

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The most philosophically explicit book I've seen transformed into a movie recently was "Starship Troopers", and it was an utter disaster. I'd be very surprised - agreeably so - if it were different this time, although obviously the director's vision is what will decide this.

I read something about the director who made Starship Troopers. According to his own statements, he deliberately made the movie in the style of a Nazi propaganda movie, because of Heinlein's "right wing" philosophy (where have we heard this stupid equation before?) (The "sequel" was so horribly bad - pure vicious satire on itself - that I had to stop watching, angrily, after 10 minutes - but then it should never have been made.)

Ayn Rand had to fight tooth and nail to get The Fountainhead movie made with exactly the script that she wanted. It's unfortunate that there apparently won't be a similar directly involved advocate for integrity for the A.S. movie.

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Thank you for the link, Stephen. This is the most recent, and promising, article about the movie I've ever seen. They even have somewhat of a budget!

When you say that "the report just offers the possibility for Pitt and Jolie", I entirely agree. It a promising hopeful potential, but still a potential. We'll see. :)

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I did not get the link (sorry), but someone on Diana Hsieh's Noodlefood wrote in the comments that The Objectivist Center and David Kelley are consultants, or something or other, for this movie. I'm sorry I didn't do better at getting the whole story. I'm ashamed to say that I hid my eyes and ran screaming from the comments section.

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I doubt the movie will be any good artistically especially with the involvement of the TOC but just to give a glimpse of how much the sales of the novel could be affected, as of now the Amazon rank of AS is 213 compared to 835 yesterday.

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Actually, this is old news. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have been rumored to be interested in this project for the last two years at least.

The only thing new about this story is that Howard and Karen Baldwin got Lionsgate to pick up the distribution rights, and Daily Variety decided to put this news on their front page. That it's a front page story as far as Daily Variety is concerned is actually a really cool thing, and a sweet P.R. move for the novel (and the producers trying to get money for their budget) but there's not a lot of meat to this story. John Aglialoro has had the rights for years, along with Phil Anschutz' Crusader Entertainment, and he's still involved, although to what extent, the story doesn't say.

The problem with making an Atlas Shrugged movie (not from the context of a fan hoping for a good adaptation but from the view of a producer trying to make it work) is that the source material is brutally difficult and so integrated that taking apart one piece makes the entire structure fall apart. That's why Atlas has never gotten past the script development stage. It's not the desire to make a faithful adaptation that makes producers give up, it's the fact that they need an even somewhat comprehensible narrative in order to get a greenlight and a budget.

Any movie that comes out of this deal is years away. There's no final script, no budget, and most importantly, no director.

My guess is that this will be just like all the other attempts to produce this movie.

- Producers get/renew option on Atlas property.

- Screenwriter hired. Press releases shoot through fax machines, Variety and Hollywood Reporter trumpet the news, which spreads to USA Today and the Drudge Report.

- Screenwriter gets bogged down in the impossibility of the job, hands in completely useless or just bizarre script.

- Lather/rinse/repeat.

(you think I'm kidding about bizarre scripts, you should have seen the one about ten years ago where Galt rescues Dagny in a glass bubble and leads the young people of the world in revolution, and yes, I'm completely serious.)

The only thing that will change this is a Peter Jackson like director who "gets it" and shepherds his vision from start to finish. Now I find it hard to imagine, you know, regular people that "get it" with respect to Atlas Shrugged. Hollywood directors, I find it -impossible- to imagine. It's murderously hard to make a movie, and the project will fail in the many many steps required to get it ready to go before the cameras, unless you have a director with a coherent vision.

Oh wait, I just had a dreadful thought.

The other thing that will change this cycle is an ironic Paul Verhoeven like director who, yes, has a clear and coherent vision, but he wants to subvert what he'll see as the fascism in Atlas by making it into a satire.

Hope it's the first one.

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I sincerely hope this story of Brangelina doing Atlas Shrugged is another false alarm. Even setting aside the pros and cons of the actors' skills, it is a bad choice of cast. As Ayn Rand contended, Galt should be played by an unknown actor in order to preserve the mystery component of the story. It is, among other things, a who-dun-it ("who is stopping the motor of the world?"). I think it would be disastrously obvious to use a high-profile real-life couple for the Dagny/Galt pairing.

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. . . . As Ayn Rand contended, Galt should be played by an unknown actor in order to preserve the mystery component of the story. It is, among other things, a who-dun-it ("who is stopping the motor of the world?"). I think it would be disastrously obvious to use a high-profile real-life couple for the Dagny/Galt pairing.

I agree that having Brad Pitt play Galt would be a bad idea. It would be far too easy to identify which character is Galt as soon as he made an appearance.

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I did not get the link (sorry), but someone on Diana Hsieh's Noodlefood wrote in the comments that The Objectivist Center and David Kelley are consultants, or something or other, for this movie. I'm sorry I didn't do better at getting the whole story. I'm ashamed to say that I hid my eyes and ran screaming from the comments section.

Relax!

"The film will be based on a script of the first part of the novel, written by Jim V. Hart and reviewed by David Kelley, founder of The Atlas Society-The Objectivist Center."

Translation from Bidinotto-speak:

David Kelley got to read ("review") the first few pages ("the first part") of a draft script which he got through his connection with John Aglioloro (whom he won over by appointing him an officer of his sinking ship).

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... his sinking ship.

I went to Jim Valliant's presentation in Chicago recently, about his excellent book The Passion of Ayn Rand's Critics. He mentioned that, as a result of the book, many people who used to be associated with TOC have now cut all ties because of Kelley's ongoing association with the Brandens.

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Whew! Thanks Betsy. I guess my ignorance of that bunch isn't such bliss after all. Never is. (Check. Ignorance isn't bliss. Another one bites the dust.)

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I was poking around the Lionsgate site and noticed a forum there that has an Atlas Shrugged topic. There isn't much there currently but it would be a good spot to post some suggestions for making it an ideal movie.

Lionsgate Forums- Atlas Shrugged

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I was poking around the Lionsgate site and noticed a forum there that has an Atlas Shrugged topic. There isn't much there currently but it would be a good spot to post some suggestions for making it an ideal movie.

Lionsgate Forums- Atlas Shrugged

Perhaps this deserves a sticky at the top of the performing arts forum here? I think we should continue discussion of the movie at the forums on lionsgates site so that our opinions and interest in the film are heard.

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I was poking around the Lionsgate site and noticed a forum there that has an Atlas Shrugged topic. There isn't much there currently but it would be a good spot to post some suggestions for making it an ideal movie.

Lionsgate Forums- Atlas Shrugged

Thanks for mentioning this, Taylor. I just posted there in the "Atlas Shrugged" thread.

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