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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Trailering Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED PART I

A stealth production? A stealth release?

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6 Responses to “Trailering Ayn Rand’s ATLAS SHRUGGED PART I”

  1. Ian Mantgani says:

    Jeez, this looks freaking awful. Stealth production and a half. Amusing to see third-rate-TV-movie talents making a movie about prime movers and their singular achievements, though. Too bad Brad and Angelina gave up on this project.

  2. Lisa says:

    Ditto, Ian. I think modernizing the story was such a terrible idea, as the stakes of the story are so high because train travel was central to American life.

    There’s also something about Rand’s heightened emotional and intellectual plane that her characters live on that is so very of the period she was writing in (remember, she began her career as a screenwriter in Hollywood) . It was like when Christopher Columbus filmed RENT and made no effort to adapt the script from theater to the medium of film, having characters simply speak the sung lines and thus robbing them of their musicality.

    If you’re going to modernize Rand, I think you’d want someone who can capture that 1940s/50s noir/melodrama, someone like a Christopher Nolan (not the biggest Nolan fan, but he’d do a gorgeous version of the Fountainhead.) Shame HBO probably had no interest in touching Rand, as a miniseries from them would probably be the only way to really capture the book in its entirety.

  3. Ian Mantgani says:

    Well, I think Rand’s particular brand of melodrama was beyond even Hollywood conventions of the time – the original “Fountainhead” pic didn’t really work in part because even though the speechifying was there, it still didn’t really get at the emotiotional/intellectual pitch she was working at. I would have loved to have seen the wacked-out visions that Michael Cimino and Oliver Stone wanted to bring to the screen. And HBO would have certainly given us something at least more polished and ambitious than the crap that this trailer suggests.

  4. Lisa says:

    Wow, i didn’t even know Stone was working on one. That would have been fantastic.

  5. Aj says:

    Wow…Lisa, you could hardly have picked a worse person to take on Atlas Shrugged–unless you picked Michael Moore. Oliver Stone is one of the Hollywood bred leftists (more than likely a collectivist who Ayn would have booed).

  6. Lisa says:

    Whoa AJ, I didn’t pick him. I was just responding to Ian when he mentioned it. At any rate, this wasn’t just a random message board musing: it seems that Stone himself was pursuing the project for a time. And besides, he was working on an adaptation of The Fountainhead, not Atlas Shrugged, a book in which the politics, while present, are less prominent.

    Like I said, I think Christopher Nolan would be more better fit for the The Fountainhead (after I saw the architectural landscapes of Inception I couldn’t get that idea out of my head). Appropriate politically or not, Stone’s take on Rand would be smart, visually distinctive, well-acted, gripping, and occasionally funny, none of which this take on Atlas Shrugged seems to be. This looks like a TV movie (and not the HBO kind).

    Who would you see for Atlas Shrugged, Aj?

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon