There are so many problems with the selling/marketing of Atlas Shrugged, Part 1 (4.15) that it’s hard to decide which ones top the list. The absence of stars is obviously concern #1. Concern #2 is that the trailer’s slogan — “Who is John Galt?” — sounds like a rehash of the “Who is Salt?” copy used for last summer’s Angelina Jolie thriller. Concern #3 is that Atlas Shrugged is basically a Ron Paul message movie — an ultra-rightist, get-the-regulators-off-our-backs propaganda film.
The fact that the trailer had its big promotional debut at the just-concluded Conservative Political Action Conference gathering in Washington, D.C., tells you everything.
In and of itself, the Libertarian/Objectivist philosophy that inspired Ayn Rand’s 1957 novel has a kind of beauty, certainly if regarded in an ivory-tower sense. Government big or small has always had a bureaucratic tendency to hinder or smother genius and stifle innovative risk-taking. But in today’s context, the movie is obviously made for and playing to the super-selfish deregulatory uglies — those who value the freedom and power to be SUV-driving, gated-community superstuds above all other things — and to the general anti-progressive, leave-us-alone, stop-Obama Tea Party community.
The thing that sold The Fountainhead, the most successful and/or legendary film adaptation of an Ayn Rand novel, was the throbbing sexual current between costars Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal (who were off-screen lovers during filming). I’m not getting anything like this from Atlas Shrugged costars Taylor Schilling (as Dagny Taggart) and Grant Bowler (as Hank Rearden).
The film’s innovator-financier-producer-and-screenwriter is John Aglialoro. The Wiki history says that Howard and Karen Baldwin “obtained the rights while running Phillip Anschutz‘s Crusader Entertainment. The Baldwins left Crusader and formed Baldwin Entertainment Group in 2004, taking the rights to Atlas Shrugged with them. Michael Burns of Lionsgate Entertainment approached the Baldwins to fund and distribute Atlas Shrugged. A two-part draft screenplay written by James V. Hart was re-written into a 127-page screenplay by the conservative-minded Randall Wallace, with Vadim Perelman expected to direct. Potential cast members for this production had included Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt,” etc.
“Brian Patrick O’Toole and Aglialoro’s screenplay is reportedly set in the year 2016, with a dystopian United States suffering economically amid greater calls for collectivism and calls for increasing government intervention.
“Though Stephen Polk was initially set to direct, he was replaced by Paul Johansson nine days before filming was scheduled to begin. Principal photography began on June 13, 2010, beating out the reversion of the film rights set to expire on June 15. Shooting took five weeks and came in on a budget north of $5 million.
The film is obviously doomed.