Failed Atlas Shrugged movie producer threatens to pull a John Galt?
The new Atlas Shrugged movie based on the best-selling Ayn Rand novel of the same name is out. Oh, did you miss it? The movie that was promised to be a blockbuster multi-part movie series of epic proportions is, in Hollywood terms, a total flop. It’s been out three weeks and has barely earned just over $450k. That’s not much money for a film about the glorious pursuit of capitalism as a grand ideal. Whats more, the producer of the film — who actually opted to turn away star celebs like Angelina Jolie who was at one point interested in playing the Dagney Taggert female heroine lead in favor of casting relative unknowns to play the leads for cheap — is so mad no one is coming to see his new movie that he is threatening to walk out on Hollywood and refuse to make the summary sequels. He fancies himself a real life John Galt character. Who is John Galt? To answer that question (if you don’t already know) you will have to do some mighty serious reading, as the Ayn Rand novel is one of the thickest [and best] books filled with deep and meaningful dialogue you may ever read. And, without the sequels finished, you can’t cheat by watching the 21st century Atlas Shrugged movie series to solve the mystery.
Ayn Rand, as a female philosopher, was a controversial figure born in the early 20th century. She lived a life filled with drama, growing up as a young child watching the perils and pride breaking patterns prevalent in Western culture communist community. Finally making her way to the United States where she took a from of political and spiritual refuge, Rand actually took the idea of capitalism to the extreme. She advocated every person should pursue their heart’s desire with reckless abandon and that to help those who were in need because they were weak was a true sin against the spirit.
Yep — if you are not familiar with Rand’s philosophy, it takes some mulling over before it sinks in, the notion Rand was advocating. It actually was a claim that swung the pendulum of human rights from an altruistic atheistic communist and Christian socialist sentiment on the far left to so far beyond right-wing that many folks could not take her work seriously.
Ayn Rand advocated helping only those you wanted to help if and when it struck your fancy to help them. She advocated self above self-sacrifice, equating having to turn the product of your own labor over to a government for the benefit of society to culture stealing. She got that man should be entitled to participate unfettered in the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness to the point of excluding utilitarian social needs. And in a big way she proved tautologically that one both can and should adopt a purely selfish philosophy that advocated self-esteem in a way that actually could be healthy.
The problem is, even when you prove an argument is logically sound, if no one accepts the premise of your assertion is true [in whole or in part], then the outcome might be cogent but utterly incorrect.
That is where the movie producer’s claim comes in to play. He thinks that because his movie is so lofty and better than everyone else’s projects top date that the normal American is not willing to come and see it. Somehow, he feels the film is being boycotted. To that end, he’s declaring war against America and the Hollywood elite by threatening to remove himself and his money from film making the same way Ayn Rand’s mysterious character boycotted society.
There is just one problem, though.
No one will miss the man who backed and funded the ambitious film script — from Hollywood, at least. Quite frankly, no matter how good his screen writer’s film lyrics are or director’s cut scenes appear visually, the real people who need to read the message in Rand’s work will still be drawn to the book where they can savor dialogue. The producer’s desire to be impatient and half ass the casting now means the folks who NEEDED to be influenced by Rand’s message the most and have John Galt become their new American hero needed big name celebrities to star in the film to draw them to the theater.
With most Americans reading at a 5th grade to 8th grade level at best, the sheer page volume of Atlas Shrugged is daunting at best.
For someone who is an avid reader of philosophical and historical fiction novels, the book is a joy to read but not one you can start and finish and really comprehend over a long weekend. It’s more like the kind of book you read — and re-read — one chapter at a time.
Then, you decide to agree or disagree — or to ignore Rand’s Kantian universal propositions and find a happy ground somewhere in the middle [i.e. you help a worthwhile struggling person who is in need of charity by doing them a favor while telling a needy but obnoxious, demanding, and ungrateful relative that you simply cannot continue to help someone who refuses to help themselves].
Do we care that the movie producer feels shunned by critics?
Not really — because just like a Rand character building a superstructure would seek out the best material of which to build a building so that a structure would be durable and stand for lifetimes, it seems to this gossip writer that the Atlas Shrugged movie producer should have been more thoughtful about using film to reach a broader audience than the book could.
Had he elected to use the best actors and actresses in Hollywood to bring audience viewers unfamiliar with Ayn Rand’s philosophy in to movie theaters nation wide, he could have actually inspired new generations with a sense of American capitalist pride.
You see, after so many years of public education working on NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND and teaching kids that everyone is equal and should strive to fit in with peers and be the same, there has been an institutionalized dumbing down of the masses that rewards mediocrity over excellence. To inspire children and grandchildren of lackadaisical Baby Boomers to believe that while they are all entitled to the equal pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness under equal protection of the law, that what that goal means to each person should by nature and nurture be different.
To elevate a culture by teaching them through subtle influence that it is okay to be great in your own way — and that while everyone might be excellent at one thing, we don’t by nature have to be excellent at ALL things — would have brought society a pearl of wisdom currently missing in modern society.
We all need to know who John Galt is and what he stood for, and in that sense, the movie writer failed to use the medium to bring the message to the masses in a way that would make and impact.
To that end, he did not accomplish what his production company expressed as a goal — and worse, one has to wonder if those big name stars who could have so cleverly played the Atlas Shrugged characters (having been influenced by their images in fromulating their own self conception over the years) were really snubbed or if they just were not satisfied with the writer’s screenplay text excerpts. Perhaps it was only the unknowns who were willing to do a film role that could only do partial justice to a book character of great magnitude. And perhaps, the producer was so afraid that someone like Tom Cruise would pipe in and ask for a role the way he muscled into the Ann Rice novel to movie adaptation of Interview with a Vampire and equally ruin the film.
If he was really John Galt, he’s finish the movie series, make them great, and never film or create another thing for public distribution.
Either way, it sounds likely the new Atlas Shrugged movie is headed straight for DVD, hopefully to become a slow burning cult classic movie great at least. That way, the man formerly known as John Aglialoro (who aspired to be John Galt) could make back some of his capitalist investment seed money.
Visit the Atlas Shrugged Part One movie website for more infromation about local show times or updates about the writer quitting.