I’m cautiously optimistic. Been waiting a long time for this one, and I hope they do a good job. The movie isn’t high budget and they don’t have many “name” actors, but the trailer looks pretty decent. I’m definitely planning to see the movie when it comes out on April 15.
I showed it to the spouse (also a fan) and his first comments were, “Isn’t Eddie Willers the guy who played the Mormon doctor on House?” (yes) and “Isn’t Brady the guy who played Paul Millander on CSI?” (also yes). And Armin Shimerman (Quark from ST: DS9) is in it too, though I don’t remember a “Dr. Potter” in the book.
I’m reminded of how I felt after seeing the Watchmen trailer, which also had an ensemble/epic thing going for it. I recognize the characters and the situations, but I have to wonder if someone who wasn’t familiar with the source material would have any idea (let alone any interest in) what was going on.
Yeah, well, I like Atlas Shrugged and I won’t apologize for it. I’ve been excited about this movie for a long time, but only if they make an attempt to do it right. This one looks like they did. Although I do have to admit I’m dismayed that they chose to set it in modern times. I was really looking forward to something with an art deco/timeless/dieselpunk aesthetic going on.
“Atlas Shrugged” has been in ‘development hell’ for decades. It keeps getting optioned, but no one in Hollywood has been able to make it. Ayn Rand kept very tight control over the work, demanding that she have full approval rights for any script that was written for the movie. Various writers and other Hollywood people couldn’t get approval from her for the scripts they wrote, or the scripts she approved wound up being submarined by one powerful studio head or another along the way. When she died, the same level of control was demanded by the people who now own the rights to the book (the Ayn Rand Institute? Something like that)
Anyway, a few years back a wealthy man bought the option to make the movie. He was a big Ayn Rand fan, and was determined to make sure the movie was done true to the spirit of the book and Rand’s philosophy. Originally, some big name directors and stars were attached to the project (Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, and a few others). But for whatever reason, the project just couldn’t get off the ground. Maybe there was just too much of a philosophical clash between the book and the rank and file in Hollywood, or whatever. So the project just lay there for a long time.
Eventually, the holder of the option ran up against a time limit - if production on the movie didn’t start within a certain period of time, he’d lose the option - and all his money with it. So a new bunch of actors were brought in, and a new director. But the book is huge, and very hard to do as one movie. And he owner didn’t have the budget for shooting the whole thing right away anyhow, and didn’t have enough time to put together all the pieces.
So… The book actually breaks up relatively cleanly into three acts, so the decision was made to shoot the movie as a trilogy. That decision allowed them to start on the first part before the option expired, and hopefully if part 1 does really well, it will help finance parts 2 and 3. I don’t know what will happen if the movie totally tanks.
On the negative side, it’s hard to imagine how this movie could be that good given the rush treatment - the director was hired just nine days before shooting started, and the entire project was rushed by the option deadline. Also, the actors are strictly ‘B’ list or worse - the director’s only previous directing credits were a couple of episodes of a Canadian TV show called “One Tree Hill”, and he’s also one of the stars of the movie. I’m sure they also had serious budget constraints.
Also on the negative side, this is a very hard book to turn into a movie - especially if you are being completely faithful to the book. John Galt’s speech goes on for something like 74 pages in the book. That speech won’t be in Part 1, but they’ll have to shoot it eventually. Unless the actor who delivers it has the ability and charisma of Kenneth Branagh delivering the St Crispin’s Day speech at Agincourt, it could be a flop.
On the positive side, the timing couldn’t be better. Unless this movie totally sucks, I’d guess half the "Tea Party’ will go out to see it. That could result in a big enough box office to green-light production on the last two parts of the trilogy.
I must say the trailer looks pretty good. Better than I expected it would. I even like some of those ‘B’ actors quite a bit.