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Not. Gonna. Happen.

by @ 1:11 am on July 14, 2006. Filed under Ayn Rand, Books, Libertarians, Movies

Once again, Ayn Rand fans everywhere are salivating over the prospect of her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged, finally making it to the silver screen. The details of the latest effort are detailed by Robert Bidnotto.

I’m sure I’ll be judged an objectivist heretic for saying it, but I agree with KipEsquire’s assessment of what a movie version of Atlas Shrugged would actually look like today.

The post cites three reasons why the Lord-Of-The-Rings type trilogy that the post by Bidnotto suggests would most likely be a mega Hollywood flop:

First there’s the problem of the amount of time that has passed since Atlas was written:

Yeah sure, you can still read Atlas Shrugged ? a novel obviously if not explicitly set in the 1950s ? for the first time in the Twenty-First Century (and you should if you haven’t already).

But does that translate to the big screen, or even television for that matter? Let’s face it: it’s about a woman who runs a railroad (before commercial aviation!) and a guy who owns steel mills (back when there actually were steel mills!).

You either modernize the capitalists (in which case you butcher the original novel), or you don’t (in which case you’re just remaking Tucker). Neither option is desirable.

This is probably the most important point. Large parts of the plot of the novel are now utterly out-of-date. Updating them while still adhering to the vision of the novel would require a writer as talented as Rand, which, quite honestly, probably doesn’t exist among the Objectivists who adhere to the Gospel of Peikoff.

Also missing, as the post points out are any credible enemies. And, quite honestly, no special effects. Without one or both, you aren’t going to draw an audience.

The time has come to face it. There will never be a movie, miniseries, or DVD. Atlas Shrugged is a novel of ideas, and novels about ideas do not translate well to the big, or small, screen. To the extent that there is value in the message of Atlas Shrugged, I fear it would be diminished by any effort to bring the novel itself to life.

Update: My buddy Raymond has this to say about the possibility of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt playing Dagny Taggart and John Galt:

I don?t remember Ayn Rand describing John as being that ?pretty.?

On a side note, Ayn Rand is not allowed to roll over in her grave as that might spark a heated debate over the afterlife.

I also don’t remember Dagny Taggert being described as having lips like Jolie’s.

Update # 2: Further thoughts on this proposed trilogy from Brad Warbiany.

3 Responses to “Not. Gonna. Happen.”

  1. Raymond says:


    I am coming there when it opens. If you don’t go to see it with me I will wait for the DVD set and come back and chain you down in a chair and make you watch it Clockwork Orange style.

    This is of course after lavish seafood and drinks bribery of you and Kellie at the restaurant in Arlington.

  2. Raymond says:

    I figure it is necessary to offer something of value ;)

  3. [...] to the offer in a manner that can only be described as strange. Three years ago, I wrote about the reports that Atlas would come to the screen as a Lord of the Rings-type trilogy. One year later, it was clear that the project was not getting off the ground. Then, we learned that [...]

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