Mr. and Mrs. Smith Stalking Atlas

 Posted by on 27 April 2006 at 5:00 pm  Uncategorized
Apr 272006

Looks like Atlas Shrugged is just about to hit the big screen… for the umpteenth time. I have to say, though, that this really is looking closer than ever before: today’s morning news breathlessly reported that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are eyeing the leads and that worldwide distribution rights were picked up by Lionsgate.

Variety reports that the couple are rumoured to be considering starring as lead characters Dagny Taggart and John Galt.

‘Atlas Shrugged’ tells the story of the economic collapse of the US in the future when American industrialists go on strike and retreat to a hideaway in the mountains.

The book espouses Rand’s philosophy of objectivism, which the author described as: “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.”

Both Pitt and Jolie are fans of Rand’s work.

There are of course snarky reports of the news as well, but at least this one contains some interesting information after the sneering:

Frat boys and self-centered individualists of the world rejoice — Lionsgate is moving forward on a big screen adaptation of Ayn Rand’s heaviest book. …

Written in 1957, “Atlas Shrugged” is considered Rand’s masterpiece by people who believe that the Russian-born author had a masterpiece (in fairness, most frat boys usually stop after Rand’s kiddie lit effort “The Fountainhead”).

The weighty tome focuses on railroad executive Dagny Taggart, who feels crushed by society’s evil shift toward collectivism or something silly like that. …

James V. Hart (“Contact”) has written a two-part script for “Atlas,” but it’s likely that it will be tightened to a single opus.

A good adaptation is hard enough in the first place, much less an adaptation of a book this large, integrated, and philosophically/culturally challenging. And as writers, producers, directors, and actors all vie to bring their own sparkle and vision to the work, there is the tendency to dilute and corrupt even great treatments. Sigh. What are the odds that Hollywood will actually do a decent, respectful job of it? Or at least not do a horrid, slanderous job?

Given these factors, I’m not expecting great results, though I would love a pleasant surprise!

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