Jolie's Atlas Shrugged gains screenplay
The weighty tome of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged novel is almost finished the screenplay adaptation, and is set to come in at around two hours long. The film is the latest project for Angelina Jolie who has managed to go further than other big budget and big star productions have failed.
Each time the producers failed to push through with the project, but now with Brad Pitt's Plan B films behind it the completed screenplay is close and filming is set to start in 2008. Randall Wallace is the writer, the man who wrote the Scottish epic Braveheart, and the other revisionist tale Pearl Harbor as well as the stunning We Were Soldiers.
According to the story in the Guardian:
Atlas Shrugged is one of the most controversial books in modern literature. It is a passionate defence of Rand's belief that the world is best served when individuals act entirely in their own rational self-interest. Or, to put it more bluntly, they act selfishly. Rand, who died in 1982, founded the objectivist school of philosophy and still has millions of followers. Atlas Shrugged and another novel The Fountainhead promote her views. In financial circles Atlas Shrugged has been dubbed 'the bible of selfishness'.
But its popularity is undeniable. It has sold six million copies since it was published in 1957 with its grim prediction of an apocalyptic future in which America's elite thinkers, industrialists and artists go on strike and disappear...
...The strike results in the collapse of society. Heroine Dagny Taggart struggles to keep her firm alive in the face of increasing state control and searches for a mysterious man called John Galt, who is still living his life by free principles and who started the strike.
According to the insightful story in the paper, insiders are saying that it was Jolie who had the book and pushed the production, seeking out the backers for the film. A studio executive said:
'She has the book. It is not a passing thing for her. She has a real interest in Rand and her way of thinking,'
Well it certainly does sound like it matches her Hollywood persona. However you can tell why it had such a troubled path to receiving a finalised screenplay, as the story closes with the surprising fact:
Atlas Shrugged ends with a 60-page-long speech by Galt outlining the principles of objectivism.
I doubt we'll see that in the film. However I think we will see a very interesting film. After reading the article I'm genuinely interested in the novel, if somewhat daunted by the length.