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Weigh in on the New Atlas Shrugged Movie

Posted by GaltsGulch 2 years, 7 months ago to The Gulch: General
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Ayn Rand's masterpiece Atlas Shrugged is just under 1200 pages. And, no matter how hard we try, there is simply no way to squeeze it all into a single movie verbatim.

Now that preliminary work has begun on the new Atlas Shrugged movie, there are some tough decisions to be made before things can really get underway. One of which is, what storylines from the book would be considered not critical to Ayn Rand's message as a whole?

So, you tell us, what scenes can be left out and still result in a movie that does Rand's message justice?


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  • 14
    Posted by MikeG 2 years, 7 months ago
    I think the full Atlas Shrugged should be presented as a mini-series for Cable TV or Netflix. Why chop away and risk losing a nugget of wisdom?
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    • Posted by awebb 2 years, 7 months ago
      Would you be in favor of a true mini-series or an actual television show that runs for multiple seasons?
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      • Posted by jdg 2 years, 7 months ago
        I agree with Temiakos. Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, or Vimeo is a better way to reach our audience than either cable or the "mainstream" TV networks. Though I'd consider Fox or TheBlaze if they were willing.
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      • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 7 months ago
        This is big enough for a TV show. I foresee twenty-two-and-a-half hours of programming, in either 30 45-minute installments or 15 hour-and-a-half installments. (Lifetime would love that; they'd schedule four and a half minutes of advertising right before the last scene of the "Moratorium on Brains" chapter, when the Taggart Comet rolls into The Tunnel with a smoker to pull her. People would hang on the edges of their seats, watch the train vanish into the tunnel, and then...TUNE IN TOMORROW.)

        In any event, as I say in another comment, we're talking about putting this on a streaming service. First prize is to get it on Amazon Prime. Second prize is to get it on Hulu. Third prize, maybe the Lifetime Movie Club, or Showtime, or some such service.
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        • Posted by ChestyPuller 2 years, 6 months ago
          I would suggest a mix of both; I would market it as a 4-6 part mini series spinning off into a television show Part I would be the Mini Series; the gotcha' if you will then Part II & III the Television show

          I prefer NetFlix, Amazon Prime over Cable or Satellite but that choice is a balance between audience size and monetary return.

          We must remember to realize that the more young progressive minds we can reach the greater the conversion to a true Founders republic will can ascertain.

          Fight on Freedom Fighters...FIGHT ON!
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          • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 6 months ago
            Remember; those young ones will throw in with the streaming services. The cable model is dying. When a program has one minute of advertising for every two of actual programming, you know it's part of a dying medium. Furthermore, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and, of course, Netflix have produced original programming for their respective services.
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            • Posted by ChestyPuller 2 years, 6 months ago
              Yes, but the lower end of society still doesn't get streaming due to cost, how many of that 'growing' group do we want to leave to be brainwashed by the public school, Black Lives Matter and community organizers [aka communists]?

              That's where the balance comes in; we need to get as many 'good' souls together as possible to strengthen the resolve of this 'Great Experiment' know as these United States of America.

              I do not know the answer; I believe no one truly does..but, which crossroads do you take?
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      • Posted by  $  WilliamShipley 2 years, 7 months ago
        I think that, as you point out, the risk of cancellation is real. At the end of each season you have to deal with the fact that your story could end there or carry on. Recently "Person of Interest" self canceled themselves. CBS was dithering about renewing them (or even when to show the last season) so they made the decision it was the last season and tied the show up nicely with just a small hook in case CBS ordered more.

        That would argue for mini-series so that you know up-front what pacing to follow. Of course, the nature of television is that if they come back and say "give me more", few producers would say, "No, I told the whole story."
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    • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 7 months ago
      Agreed. In fact this could last for thirty episodes.
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      • Posted by awebb 2 years, 7 months ago
        Doing something that spans 30 episodes has some risks. For example, at 30 episodes you're probably talking about 2-3 seasons. The network could cancel it. A leading actor could drop out. With that in mind would you still prefer something that spans such a length of time?
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        • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 7 months ago
          Yes. To begin with, I urge you to forget about the traditional broadcast or CATV ("cable") network model. Free live TV is dead; long live streaming. I foresee the AS mini-series streaming out on Amazon Prime Video--or, as one other commenter has already suggested, Netflix.

          Besides, you would not shop this to CBS or NBC or ABC. Those guys are the Bertram Scudders of electronic media. You would shop it to HBO, Starz, Showtime, or maybe the A&E family of channels: either A&E or Lifetime. Or perhaps Hulu. Or, as I said, Amazon Video. And people would look forward to streaming it on their Roku or Amazon Fire TV devices, or onto their iPads or Android tablets.
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        • Posted by Lucky 2 years, 7 months ago
          Yes, a worthwhile risk.
          Try to get each episode to stand alone dramatically with minor reference to the place in the big story.
          Each should be worth watching, and give the message by being true to the theme.
          Maybe there is no need to get to the end, there are many sub stories- 20th C motors, the tunnel crash, the big rail contract, the emptiness of academia, sabotage at Reardon Metal, the contribution to Friends of Social Progress, the train drivers v. their union, ..
          'In a country not far away..'
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        • Posted by ChestyPuller 2 years, 6 months ago
          Ah, but thirty episodes does not have to span 3yrs...of filming; it could be completed in a year and a half releasing the episodes over the 3 yrs. This gives the characters more strength in the role and less chance of dropping out and having to 'change faces', it also keeps the cost down.

          Characters can't demand higher salary's after the 1st or 2nd season.

          This process is a movie type production which the director runs the whole season; knowing their episode cut offs which are split out in the film room.

          This form would make for a better show because the Actors remain 'strong' in their characters during the complete filming making for a much higher believability for the viewer; giving the series higher ratings.

          It could take a '3 movie' filming which should last no more than 3 months each with a one month break [hopefully negotiated down to less time off to keep the 'flow' of the characters at a high level]
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      • Posted by  $  allosaur 2 years, 7 months ago
        Speaking as someone first exposed to Ayn Rand via the AS trilogy, I think a miniseries is the only way to go to hold the attention of newbies easily distracted by oodles of tech toys.
        Hopefully halfway through, some actor for a vital character won't shrug the Shrug because he's not being invited to Hollywood libtard shindigs any more.
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  • 11
    Posted by AC1 2 years, 7 months ago
    I don't understand what happened to the idea of the miniseries. The book and ideas are too big for a movie that can't run much more than 2 hours. And multi-part movies without huge special effects are not likely to bring in large audiences; especially when they are asking the viewers to do a lot of thinking.

    Since the book is divided into 30 chapters , it could be filmed in 3 seasons of 10 chapters each.

    In my opinion, the setting should be kept as late 40s/early 50s. Trying to translate the metaphor of the railroad to a contemporary or future setting wouldn't have the impact. Filmed as a "period piece" gives enough psychological distance for the viewer to think about the ideas. It also provides a certain "romantic" atmosphere that draws people into the story (Think Casablanca or more recently, The Man in the High Castle).

    There is obviously a big job in translating the novel with its long monologues into something more suited for the screen ("show don't tell), but I am guessing that there are any number of writers up to the task. And I am certain that there are good writers who are students of Rand so that the script could be written to be less didactic while still maintaining the essence of the philosophy.

    This is the golden age of long-form TV and I have waited for this day since the late 70s when there was a rumor that Ted Turner was going to back a miniseries during the first flowering of multi-night television. (Think Roots and Shogun).

    I am hoping that I won't have to wait 40 more years to see another attempt at bringing a high-quality version of Atlas Shrugged to life.
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    • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 7 months ago
      Well, if you do have to wait the forty years, you will have achieved another milestone. The property will likely come into the public domain in forty-five years, anyway. Those are the terms of the Copyright Act: lifetime of the author plus seventy-five years.

      As to translating long monologues: you'll probably have to have several cuts throughout the speeches involved, especially the Great Speech. (You might even ask an actor to record it all for a special installment, licensed for separate streaming.) But--well, take Eddie Willers' dialogues with John Galt. Some of those you could translate into action--like Ragnar's raid on Orren Boyle's mill on the coast of Maine.
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    • Posted by sonsonsunny 2 years, 7 months ago
      Totally agree...I loved the "railroad era", even though when I first read it in 1973 they were 'on the way out". I loved the nostalgia it brought to my mind. Granted, millennial nowadays wouldn't have a clue. You'd have to make it the airline industry. But, I love the trains. If Downton Abbey can make the 1900's come to life, Atlas should be able to do the same with this time frame!
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  • Posted by  $  CBJ 2 years, 7 months ago
    An unorthodox approach, but I would do a “reverse onion peel” on the storyboard. Instead of taking the whole book and stripping out subplots until the time constraints disappear, start with what you would leave in if you had to tell the whole story in 20 minutes. Then restore what you consider the most useful subplot that was left out. Repeat as needed until the movie (or miniseries) is the appropriate length for your purposes.
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  • Posted by KRUEG 2 years, 7 months ago
    The New Movie: A combination of course. Try to use the "original" cast members. It was a bit confusing when the main characters changed on the 3 Movies. Must make the point that Freedom is not Free and we must all be alert to the socialist agenda.
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    • Posted by jdg 2 years, 7 months ago
      I expect it would now be technically feasible to just take those three movies and "photoshop" the faces of one set of actors into the other two, thus removing this inconsistency. Whether the actual actors would hold still for that is another question; some of them might scream bloody murder. But that's what I would do.

      Does anyone really believe that any of the three movies was so bad that a complete remake is worthwhile?
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      • Posted by TheLightHouse 2 years, 5 months ago
        No they were not bad, I just wanted to see the same main characters... My opinion Part 2 was the best, I watch that one more than the other 2.
        They need to get those main characters from Part 2 to act in the new movie. That would be perfect for me.
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  • Posted by salta 2 years, 7 months ago
    I think the whole area around the torture, secret projects, etc, can be cut. I know why Rand had them in the book, but I think most people see them as just unrealistic. The best message to focus on in a single movie is the economic one. Make people see the consequences of what they recognize as their own government's policies. When an audience sees torture, it looks too extreme. The audience thinks, "ok, this is fiction, but this is nothing like MY government", then the economic argument is categorized in their mind as fiction also.
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  • Posted by rjkford 2 years, 7 months ago
    What vital organ would you leave out of a body? That's the question you are asking. As one of the lucky "voices of John Galt" in III, I feel close to this issue. No one part could be left out without endangering the message. The only way to slim it down would be to spend less time on each major point without touching the meat of each point. As a one time Thespian, I know this would put a lot more on each actor to express more with less time and words. To say nothing about needing VERY good directing. I still hope for a mini-series, but if not possible, I would still help promote it(I still have some John Galt stickers) and spend my money on a kickstarter campaign again. Questions?
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  • Posted by  $  kddr22 2 years, 7 months ago
    Francisco's character must be stronger than it was in the 3rd part of the last series. cast consistency...
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    • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 7 months ago
      Definitely. People have to believe Francisco as a force of nature, someone quite capable of blowing up his ore docks on the very stroke of a parliamentarian's gavel, and then texting to all the people of New York: "Brother, you asked for it!" Signed with all his names in full. That was one of my favorite scenes.
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  • Posted by Doug_Ort 2 years, 7 months ago
    Things I loved about the trilogy:

    The first ride on the John Galt Line.

    Dagny's entry into the coffee shop after her conversation with Akston. "I won't stop looking…" and the man she's looking for is sitting right there. I love dramatic irony. My eyes well up every time I watch this scene.

    Rearden's first meeting with Leonard Small

    Francisco's interaction with the party goers at James Taggart's wedding.

    Dagny's conversation with Jeff Allen. I can feel her mind working, putting all the pieces together. Another case of damp eyes for me.

    "What are your demands? Nothing,…."

    Galt's meeting with Thompson.

    .
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  • Posted by sonsonsunny 2 years, 7 months ago
    PS. I also feel that Francisco, as the early childhood friend, who was the first to "leave" and go to the Gulch, should have more of a role. His involvement could be woven into the mystery, and use his presence (instead of Galt's) early on. He would have the most influence on Dagny as they had been so close. It should be his departure that lends strongly to her leaving and going to the Gulch. His character received very little development...same with Eddie Willers. Pump up both of their roles.

    I also love the idea of a mini series....or a Netflix release, like House of Cards, but over at least three years.....or three "seasons"
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    • Posted by sonsonsunny 2 years, 7 months ago
      Start the movie with the "who is John Galt" dialogue in the coffee shop, but then go to flashback with Dagny, Francisco, and James and Eddie as kids....don't spend too much time in that time frame, but enough to show some sort of strong connection between those main three...Eddie, Dagny and Francisco...You could also show what a dope James is at that age as well, right? That shouldn't be too hard to show a snivelling coward and "taker" at age 6!
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  • Posted by sonsonsunny 2 years, 7 months ago
    You could allude to the horrible marriage that Hank is in, and leave out most of their scenes with the greedy mother and brother as the bloodsuckers that they are. JUst leave the bracelet transaction with Dagny in place. HAnks ultimate breakup with his wife can be seen as a foregone conclusion. I realize you wanted to show his integrity by staying in a loveless marriage, but it really is not needed. His integrity shows later when he refuses to let them expose Dagny as his mistress.

    I would have liked to have seen more of the transition of Dagny,s brother, and point out his level of corruption with the politicians and what it leads to. His marriage and subsequent decline of same, to me, is more important than the disintegration of Hanks marriage.

    I would not identify John Galt as early in a new movie.

    I think the early development of the problems were given short shrift in the trilogies. To reach the uninformed, they have to be shown more definitively what it is exactly that they are losing. They are losing their freedom to the government, and that is the most important concept to get across.

    Lala land at the end is all fine and dandy for those that get there, but I don't think the trilogies identified strongly enough why they were compelled to leave after Galt comes and has his little chat with each of them. Maybe it can be shown in flashbacks. Their cumulative frustration and disgust with the government needs to be built up better before they finally say "screw this" and leave.

    Keep up the good work!
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 7 months ago
      " the greedy mother and brother as the bloodsuckers that they are. "
      I don't know whether it should be in the movie, but I liked those scenes in the book. They were addicted to Hank's gravy train yet contemptuous of him. It rang true for me.
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  • Posted by fannym 2 years, 7 months ago
    Mini series that closely follows the book is a good idea. Ayn Rand was a screen play writer and her books are written as a screen play, ready to be produced.
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  • Posted by brkssb 2 years, 7 months ago
    Leave nothing out, even if marathon running time and/or a 24-part series. Think along the lines of NBI or ARI lecture series. Don't screw it up again or don't make it at all. "Roots" was successful and other epics show it can be done right.
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  • Posted by  $  Maritimus 2 years, 7 months ago
    I feel compelled to add my two cents, even if I agree with MikeG and others that normal movie (circa 120 min.) is inadequate format to convey Atlas Shrugged.
    Ayn Rand worked as an artist for many years to compose her masterpiece. Its sales are due not only to the "message", but also to the great novel-writing art that she displayed. Readers get emotionally involved in the story and that keeps them all the way through 1200 pages. It is the story of Dagny Taggart (and many other things, as you know).
    "Updating" that story by reproducing it in the new medium of a 2 hr. movie is nonsensical pursuit. You should have already learned that in the three-part attempt. Would you try to "update" the Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel to a cellphone snapshot?
    Learn from the great success of Downton Abbey. Find a top notch writer. Perhaps the same guy. Assemble a first class team of director, cinematographer, scenes and costumes designers. Then select a uniformly very good (not top Hollywood star! - they are too spoiled and already lefty indoctrinated) team of actors that are enthusiastic about the project and hungry to show what they can do. Then produce a similar series, maybe even over two seasons. Get the best experts to help you translate a great novel into a great moviesque show.
    Is it risky? Of course. Is it expensive? Enormously. Is worth it? It is vitally important. We are talking about a best seller for more than a half a century.
    That is all I can say. I wish I were a creative genius and accumulated billions. I would fund it gladly.
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  • Posted by bassboat 2 years, 7 months ago
    I look at Atlas Shrugged as more of a mini series than a movie. Like was stated there is too much information for a movie. Pass the torch on to a Netflix and let them crete the story which is a fabulous story. I believe that it would be a classic on film like it was in print if given the time to unroll the story.
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  • Posted by Learnedman 2 years, 7 months ago
    Must have same actors!!! Like Ayn's quotes in 3rd part last movie.
    More on reasons by people who joined movement. Good luck! I like the mini-series idea!
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  • Posted by Esceptico 2 years, 7 months ago
    Get rid of the “love” scenes are not critical to the story and they are more like rapes than love. By not including them one item of controversy is removed and more time is available for the more important central theme.
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    • Posted by  $  puzzlelady 2 years, 7 months ago
      No, no, no. Those love scenes are crucial and hold everything together. Remember Rand's explanation: Rape by engraved invitation. Love sells. Sex sells. Just what do you consider the most important central theme?
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      • Posted by Esceptico 2 years, 7 months ago
        I guess it depends upon how you like sex. My preference is a willing partner having a good time, not pretending to fight me off yelling “NO!” when she means “YES!” To me, Rand’s sex scenes were not clear that she enjoyed this sort of kink and I could not always it figure out if she was having fun. I have read several X-Rated books which depict much better kinky sex scenes than Rand wrote.I am not passing judgment on her idea of what is good sex, merely pointing out I do not think it adds to the main theme, which is: The Primary of Existence principle and how violating by embracing the Primary of Consciousness causes bad things.
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  • Posted by Hemidoug 2 years, 7 months ago
    I have always thought the movie could only be done properly as a mini-series. No less than 10 hours. This is a teachable moment for the uninformed to watch and learn. you can't leave much out.
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  • Posted by Eldritchvoice 2 years, 7 months ago
    One thing I think would help a new telling of the story would be to give the adversaries more realistic dimensions. In the book (which I loved) Dagne and company's opponents seemed so one-sided and almost caricaturish that I could never really believe anyone would support their programs. Most of us have that spirit of capitalism in us to some degree or another and would not so willingly give up on our ability to rise above others less creative or less determined. A more nuanced battle between realistic extremes might appeal to a wider audience and stimulate those at the extremes to consider what happens if their favored approach prevails without balance. best of luck with the new interpretation.
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    • Posted by  $  Temlakos 2 years, 7 months ago
      I disagree. You don't have to worry about the caricature-like villains. The American people foolishly elected Mister Thompson as President of the United States--twice. And he appointed Wesley Mouch as "Regulatory Czar." And Senator-wannabe Kip Chalmers, D-California, has several names: Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-California; Senator Harry W. Reid, D-Nevada; Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, D-Rhode Island; Representative Elijah Cummings, D-Maryland; et al., et al., et al. ad nauseam. In other words, just draw from portraits of current politicians. And develop a quick backstory on how Washington got to this pass: a runaway Constitutional convention in which the looters dominated.
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    • Posted by CircuitGuy 2 years, 7 months ago
      "I think would help a new telling of the story would be to give the adversaries more realistic dimensions."
      I like this idea. I'm not sure how well it would fit into a movie, but suppose the script writers consulted with people who believe in self-sacrifice and altruism. Suppose they left it open so that supporters of altruism could watch it and think the altruists were right and it was just mismanagement that caused the gov't-managed system to fail.

      I clearly do not agree with the altruists, but it's nice to have villains whose motivations you understand and some points you can sympathize with them on.

      This would be a wide interpretation of AS. What I got from AS was "look at what happens if you take these bad ideas to an extreme."

      I really like your idea of less 2-by-4 to the head, but I would not know how to make it work for AS.
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  • Posted by charlie7894 2 years, 7 months ago
    I cannot express how pleased I am to hear that the team is taking another go at the Atlas Shrugged movie. Sadly, the urgency of expiring rights forced an expediency to the trilogy that necessitated many 'compromises' and we all know Ms. Rand's opinion of compromise. It would be nice to see a consistency in the cast, as well as more of the struggle, and less of the 'party.' There are numerous scenes that could have been much shorter in the first version, allowing room to underscore the importance of the work, more than the celebration. Much of the science institute dealings could be reduced, and it would be refreshing to return the timeline to the original 'steel baron' era, rather than the futuristic mix that was such a compromise. Thank you for asking... I wish you both time and success with this next venture.
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  • Posted by johnlink 2 years, 7 months ago
    Are you really taking a survey about what should be included in the movie?

    All three parts of the movie ought to have had the same cast. Can you imagine how unsatisfying watching the Godfather I, II, and III would be if the casts were all different in all three parts?
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  • Posted by Doug_Ort 2 years, 7 months ago
    Things I disliked with the characterization of Dagny in the trilogy:

    Rudeness in disconnecting James during his phone calls. Yeah, he's a looter, but she could still treat him civilly. Acting in an uncivil way reduces the attractiveness of her character.

    Throwing the porch furniture carelessly onto the lawn. There's never any excuse for trashing perfectly good stuff. If she doesn't want it any more, give it to someone who might appreciate it.
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  • Posted by Doug_Ort 2 years, 7 months ago
    Scenes I hated to see cut from the trilogy:

    Dagny's calling for volunteers to take the first run on the John Galt Line.

    Dagny's radio "confession" to her affair with Rearden.

    Lillian discovering that Hank has divorced her with zero assets.
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  • Posted by teri-amborn 2 years, 7 months ago
    As Maritimus said:
    "Think Downton Abbey" !
    This should be a series with the best possible writers and actors.
    There will be an initial following...and eventually a growing and loyal audience.

    Please: No 2-hour-length movie.
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