Stephen Speicher

Jolie confirmed as playing Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged Movie

240 posts in this topic

Well, with all those rumors floating around for months, according to this report in today's Variety (9/21/06) it has now been confirmed that Angelina Jolie will be playing Dagny Taggart in the movie version of Atlas Shrugged.

Angelina Jolie is set to star in the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's iconic tome "Atlas Shrugged" for Lionsgate. Howard and Karen Baldwin ("Ray"), who hold the rights to Rand's most ambitious novel, are producing with Media Talent Group topper Geyer Kosinski, Jolie's manager...

Is Brad Pitt next to sign?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh no...

I know everyone says that even in the worst case the movie will bring more attention to the book, but I keep seeing images of the Alexander movie in my mind (Jolie's previous film), and trust you me, you don't want that kind of attention towards the source material. That movie would have destroyed curiosity about Alexander the Great for an entire generation, if it didn't flop so badly. And on purely aesthetic grounds, I still say that Jolie would be miscast as Dagny, because she's too voluptious-looking for Dagny. Jolie would be more appropriate for Dominique (and she could also use her personal history to play the initial "bad girl" angle very well).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't mind Pitt; he's got the looks and the acting ability. Jolie is a big disappointment, however. I haven't seem her work, but her look isn't right to my mind. If she's a good enough actress, perhaps she can pull it off.

My biggest worry is that none of them will understand their material, from the writer and director to the actors. I have recurring nightmares that they will rewrite it until the most important ideas are obliterated.

I wish I could feel happy about this, but.... Ah well, out of my hands.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Supposedly they like the book, which means they have no understanding of what it actually means and what they are supposed to be portraying. This is frightening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Supposedly they like the book, which means they have no understanding of what it actually means and what they are supposed to be portraying. This is frightening.

I agree, because if they liked the book and understood it they would see that they are not living by the standards that the book exemplifies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree, because if they liked the book and understood it they would see that they are not living by the standards that the book exemplifies.

Liking "Atlas" can mean many things--a controversial vehicle to cinematic fame, an intriguing romance with a strong female lead, or a political statement. It rarely signifies an appreciation for the depth, brilliance, and complexity of Ayn Rand's achievement. But Jolie as Dagny??? Somehow I imagined someone more cerebral in the role. I never in my wildest dreams would have picked that pair (if Brad signs) as the leads for the movie. I have never really liked Brad Pitt, either, particularly not for the role of Galt. Maybe Bill Clinton could do a cameo role as Mr. Thompson.

I would like to know why Angelina Jolie claims to like the book, what it is that attracts her to it.

Somehow I am not expecting to be pleased with the product, if it is ever produced.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Liking "Atlas" can mean many things--a controversial vehicle to cinematic fame, an intriguing romance with a strong female lead, or a political statement. It rarely signifies an appreciation for the depth, brilliance, and complexity of Ayn Rand's achievement.

But Jolie as Dagny??? Somehow I imagined someone more cerebral in the role. I never in my wildest dreams would have picked that pair (if Brad signs) as the leads for the movie. I have never really liked Brad Pitt, either, particularly not for the role of Galt.

I wouldn't peg Jolie as dumb. She's smart, by most accounts; just screwed up. She's actually a good actress. If you saw her in the Tomb Raider movies (1st one lightweight and entertaining, the 2nd obnoxious, but with a couple of good acting scenes), you could see that -- with a great script -- she could pull off a Rand heroine. I do agree that Dominique, for her, would be playing to her strengths. A Troubled, Conflicted Dagney would be a colossal waste of time and pixels.

I think your assessment of Jolie's reasons for her interest are astute and probably accurate. Strong women are traditionally hard to find in Hollywood scripts and, these days, what passes for that is undercut by the "need" to show that she's really hopelessly incompetent at something, or insecure about her looks, or some such undercutting... to make her "human." She has done some movies that fight the stereotype, including Tomb Raider and Mr & Mrs Smith.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, with all those rumors floating around for months, according to this report in today's Variety (9/21/06) it has now been confirmed that Angelina Jolie will be playing Dagny Taggart in the movie version of Atlas Shrugged.
I am supremely disappointed by this. Not a chance ever in my mind that Jolie is anything like Dagny. Regardless of acting ability, Dagny to me looks absolutely nothing like her.
Is Brad Pitt next to sign?
I can almost see Pitt as Galt.

Almost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wouldn't peg Jolie as dumb. She's smart, by most accounts; just screwed up. She's actually a good actress. If you saw her in the Tomb Raider movies (1st one lightweight and entertaining, the 2nd obnoxious, but with a couple of good acting scenes), you could see that -- with a great script -- she could pull off a Rand heroine.

I enjoyed Jolie's brief appearance in SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW. There wasn't a lot of meat in the role (or the script generally), but what there was was highly stylized and unabashedly heroic. And while she's not a perfect match for my mental picture of Dagny, she's close enough.

I'm also highly skeptical of the notion that just because Jolie doesn't understand something, she can't play a character who does given an appropriate script. Consider the actor Ed Harris. He's a long way from a hard-headed rational engineer hero, but he played one perfectly in APOLLO 13. Nobody would say that Anthony Hopkins' performance as Hannibal Lecter was undercut because he *isn't* a sociopath. Etc. Acting is all about creating convincing portrayls of people who are different from the actor. If Jolie can do that, and she's motivated to do so by some value she sees in the book, that's all that's needed. She doesn't have to be an Objectivist to play one on screen.

Of course, all of this turns on the quality of the screenplay. *That* I'm skeptical about, for reasons that have nothing to do with the casting at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me add my strong disagreement with the sentiment in this thread. She is a terrific actress and I think she will do a good job.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This really sucks. I don't think Jolie is a good actress by any account. In fact, I don't even think she's good looking (yes, I know, I'm probably the only guy who thinks this).

I also have no idea how she can claim to like Ayn Rand, and then live the way she does. She probably thinks of herself as some sort of real-life Dagny, which might mean she's going to bring herself into the role of Dagny Taggart in the movie. To paraphrase Rand, any cross between food and poison results in death.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
In fact, I don't even think she's good looking (yes, I know, I'm probably the only guy who thinks this).
Not the only one. As I've mentioned elsewhere, something in her face is unappealing to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not the only one. As I've mentioned elsewhere, something in her face is unappealing to me.

And not the only two. I remember thinking, the first time I saw her, how standards have fallen, if that characterless emptiness is regarded as beautiful.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My concern is that the movie will be successful for the wrong reasons, and then Jollie will win best-actress award, and talk about her humanitarian activities at her acceptance speech. It will be the murder of all that Dagny Taggart stands for.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My concern is that the movie will be successful for the wrong reasons, and then Jollie will win best-actress award, and talk about her humanitarian activities at her acceptance speech. It will be the murder of all that Dagny Taggart stands for.

I don't think that a Hollywood acceptance speech can be the "murder of all that Dagny Taggart stands for." If Jolie adds to the success of the movie. and if that success causes the sale of an extra few hundred-thousand copies of Atlas Shrugged, then that alone would make it worthwhile.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My concern is that the movie will be successful for the wrong reasons, and then Jollie will win best-actress award, and talk about her humanitarian activities at her acceptance speech. It will be the murder of all that Dagny Taggart stands for.
I'll make a more general prediction: there's no way this movie (or, probably, anything that follows from it, such as interviews with the principals and so forth) will satisfy Objectivists, in general, in any significant way. I think it's likely that no movie adaptation of AS can. The book is too important and too dear to too many for any other incarnation of it to live up.

By comparison, I did not, for example, think the same of The Lord of the Rings, which has special signficance for me (and many others). I always thought that that book could be done right on screen and, despite a few specific problems, I loved the film version.

I hope I'm proved wrong about the AS film.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm keeping my expectations very low, so its unlikely this movie could disappoint me. The movie needs to start shooting before I really believe it's going to be made. That article made it sound like AJ's people are gaining some ownership over the film? AJ is fairly crazy, and "humanitarian". But if she can keep her swollen lips under control, and get into some business suits, and hide her tatoos, her look and voice are somewhat compatible with my vague mental image of a Dagny Taggart type. Maybe that's because I haven't seen any of her films.

Still, it's something that a top 5 Hollywood actress is playing the part, and that should help make the movie happen, get a bigger budget and advertizing. Plus, she appears obsessive enough that while she's in her trailer, she might actually read and reread Atlas Shrugged and the script (hopefully not a total distortion of the novel) and come close to understanding how she needs to act like Dagny. Or maybe if she reads it carefully she'll finally understand and reject Ayn Rand, and ruin the project, or distort the message massively. How terribly sad and ironic that David Kelley is the one assigned to keep the script on message, philosophically. It's like assigning the fox to watch the henhouse. Maybe he'll convince her that being selfish is the most altruistic and charitable thing for the world, and the best chance to save the babies in Africa.

Maybe Brad Pitt will be cast as Rearden and she'll fall for whoever is cast as John Galt, to stay in character.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I remember going to an Isaac Asimov forum when I, Robot was first announced. You can guess how those Asimov fans reacted to that "adaptation."

I don't think this one will be as bad as that, though. They'll probably emphasize the ethical part, and de-emphasize the political part. As long as they push it under the rug, rather than distort it, I'm happy.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't think that a Hollywood acceptance speech can be the "murder of all that Dagny Taggart stands for." If Jolie adds to the success of the movie. and if that success causes the sale of an extra few hundred-thousand copies of Atlas Shrugged, then that alone would make it worthwhile.

Not if the readers see it through the prism of Jollie's portrayal of Dagny, especially if she conveys the message that humanitarian aid for the refugees of the Middle East is compatible with the message of the book. Atlas Shrugged has been selling well enough without a movie. The problem is that too few readers really understand it. Even Kelley read it and it would have been better if he hadn't.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How terribly sad and ironic that David Kelley is the one assigned to keep the script on message, philosophically. It's like assigning the fox to watch the henhouse.

I'm all for truth in advertising. Accurately billing the film as "David Kelley's Atlas Shrugged" should distance it from "Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged."

Then the ARI Media Department can get busy cranking out press releases explaining how the book is different -- and vastly superior to -- the film. The resulting controversy ought to sell a lot of books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't think that a Hollywood acceptance speech can be the "murder of all that Dagny Taggart stands for." If Jolie adds to the success of the movie. and if that success causes the sale of an extra few hundred-thousand copies of Atlas Shrugged, then that alone would make it worthwhile.

Not if the readers see it through the prism of Jollie's portrayal of Dagny, especially if she conveys the message that humanitarian aid for the refugees of the Middle East is compatible with the message of the book.

Last Wednesday, while addressing the United Nations, that total buffoon Hugo Chavez held up a copy of Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival. Two days later, on Friday, Chomsky's book went from 20,664th place on the amazon.com sales list, to number 1! Don't underestimate the effects of publicity in our society, whatever the source and whatever the issue. I have no idea if an increase of a few hundred-thousand in sales of Atlas Shrugged is optimistic, or pessimistic, but I am confident that if the movie is made there will be an increase in sales. Not to mention the awareness of Ayn Rand spilling over into her other works.

Atlas Shrugged has been selling well enough without a movie.

Don't we want more sales, reaching more people? Should ARI stop its book program because "Atlas Shrugged has been selling well enough?"

The problem is that too few readers really understand it.

But what matters are those readers who do understand Atlas Shrugged. And, the more who read the book, the more of those sort of readers we will find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Last Wednesday, while addressing the United Nations, that total buffoon Hugo Chavez held up a copy of Noam Chomsky's book Hegemony or Survival. Two days later, on Friday, Chomsky's book went from 20,664th place on the amazon.com sales list, to number 1!

Here could be the new sales pitch: "Noam Chomsky: Recommended by 2 out of 3 Third-World Dictators!" :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Don't underestimate the effects of publicity in our society, whatever the source and whatever the issue.

Ok, I agree. This bit from The Book Standard publicizes ARI even if they got few things wrong:

According to the website for the Ayn Rand Institute, the basis of Objectivism is “Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists.” “The Collective” was a group of close confidants, students, and proponents of Rand and Objectivism. Members of The Collective established the Ayn Rand Institute and continue to spread Objectivism, the way Rand did in the ‘60s and ‘70s with her own monthly magazine, The Objectivist, in which she published essays about her beliefs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This really sucks. I don't think Jolie is a good actress by any account. In fact, I don't even think she's good looking (yes, I know, I'm probably the only guy who thinks this).

I don't think I've ever seen her in a movie, but have seen her picture on tabloid covers in the supermarkets. And I don't think she's very good looking either.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites