Atlas Shrugged is being made into a movie—no, really

I can’t believe it—shooting has begun on a movie version of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, after decades of abortive efforts to bring the 1,100 page novel to the screen. However, what they’re doing here sounds like junk. It’s an “indie” production (can someone tell me what “indie” means as distinct from independent, and if it means the same thing, why not just say independent?), with a five week shooting schedule and a $5 million budget.

The article also doesn’t address the most interesting question, the same question that every past (abortive) effort to film the book has faced: will the movie be set in the fictional late-1940s America of the novel, in which trains are the main mode of transcontinental travel, or will it be set in a fictional present, in which case the central character, Dagny Taggart, cannot be the head of a transcontinental railroad, and the plot and many specific incidents would have to be radically altered? If they set it in the present, what occupation will they give Dagny? Perhaps she will be the operating vice president of a software firm, and John Galt a hacker. But then what happens to the industrial-age heroism which provides the driving force of the story?

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Paul T. writes:

Since the book is something of a relic, the best way to do it, IMHO, would be the approach used a few years back for Tristram Shandy. That is, make a movie ABOUT making a movie of Atlas Shrugged. Though this could, at worst, be precious in a postmodern way, it would also afford the opportunity to get some critical distance from Rand’s text, while still making all its essential points. It’s also perhaps the only way of staying within the $5 million budget while not looking extremely cheesy.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at June 16, 2010 11:04 AM | Send

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