Movie of ATLAS SHRUGGED


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~ With so much implicitly excised from the book, I can only wonder how superficially the whole 'plot' (and explication-points, if any) will be presented. Granted, Randall Wallace did a good job with BRAVEHEART, but, that wasn't an adaptation; still, if anyone can condense, meaningfully, AS to a cinematic time-frame which the size of ANTHEM seems more apropos to, I accept that he could. The keyword, obviously, is 'if.'

~ A side question: if AS is made as a single movie (taking up less time than the KING KONG remake), or, conceivably, a dilogy, do you think reviewers will pan it for its ideology-orientation/'cardboard(aka heroic)-characters', or, for its adaptation? --- We know that pan it most will.

LLAP

J:D

PS: I have little doubt that Angie (sigh) can carry the part.

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~ With so much implicitly excised from the book, I can only wonder how superficially the whole 'plot' (and explication-points, if any) will be presented. Granted, Randall Wallace did a good job with BRAVEHEART, but, that wasn't an adaptation; still, if anyone can condense, meaningfully, AS to a cinematic time-frame which the size of ANTHEM seems more apropos to, I accept that he could. The keyword, obviously, is 'if.'

~ A side question: if AS is made as a single movie (taking up less time than the KING KONG remake), or, conceivably, a dilogy, do you think reviewers will pan it for its ideology-orientation/'cardboard(aka heroic)-characters', or, for its adaptation? --- We know that pan it most will.

LLAP

J:D

PS: I have little doubt that Angie (sigh) can carry the part.

127 pages - sort of the "Classics Comics" version of AS, I presume.

It will surely be panned (if it is faithful to the book) for portraying heroes who are heroic - and who do not have massive flaws. My guess is that movie reviewers would rather have John Galt portrayed as having some serious character flaw, or perhaps being obsessive-compulsive a la "Monk."

Alfonso

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Besides the remarks of the producers, Lionsgate's Michael Burns, and director Vadim Perelman at the conference, some of us had the privilege of a lengthy late-night conversation with Perelman, picking his brain about his view of the story and characters, his attitude toward the novel and Rand's ideas, his sense of artistic integrity, and his ideas for tweaking Wallace's screenplay.

I have to tell you, before the Atlas 50th Celebration, I was skeptical about this guy's ability to create a wonderful film that captures the essentials of Rand's novel.

I'm no longer skeptical. If it can be done, I think this guy just may have what it takes to pull it off.

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> some of us had the privilege of a lengthy late-night conversation with Perelman, picking his brain about his view of the story and characters, his attitude toward the novel and Rand's ideas, his sense of artistic integrity, and his ideas for tweaking Wallace's screenplay.

Cool!

By the way, to me there is a certain fitness, after all these years, that with the breakup of the Soviet Union and the setting free of people like Ukrainians, that it is not a pampered American but someone from over there, someone who probably "gets it" -- having seen chains and slavery and what it does first hand -- who should be at the helm of this.

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I'm no longer skeptical. If it can be done, I think this guy just may have what it takes to pull it off.

Robert,

I didn't stick around to pick Perelman's brains, but what I heard during the Q&A impressed the hell out of me. He KNEW his subject matter cold. Probably the most inspiring thing the guy said was not in his words, but in his perplexity. When asked how he intended to present the heroism of Rand's characters, he answered in a perplexed manner and without hesitation, "Like Ayn did." Then, after thinking it over for a second, he amended, "I know that seems like a flippant answer, but..." Then he went on to discuss it in more detail. His emotional reaction essentially verbalized as "is this even open to question?" showed how deeply he is committed to preserving Rand's vision in a very difficult undertaking.

I will give more thoughts tomorrow.

Michael

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Robert:

~ As I said...'if.'

Phil:

~ Yes: 'dilogy.' --- Ya got a prob wid dat? Wha? I gotta get out my Thesaurolosophus and find da right word for youse? So's how'bout 'pair', or, heh, 'duology.' Dat fancy 'nuff for ya? :flowers:

~ (Psst...Vinny; yeah, youse: '4-fingers'. C'mere. Dis guy made offensivableness ta me, *ME*, 'bout my talkin' style. 'Member dat favor I did ya fer yer sister? I need ya ta, ya know, 'talk' to dis guy, see...)

LLAP

J:D

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On the one hand, Perelman directed the plot-hole-riddled gloomfest "House of Sand and Fog."

(I can't do better than my brother did to eviscerate this film — you can read his review here. Along with a sizable blast at the altruism in "It's a Wonderful Life," even though he's not Objectivist.)

On the other hand, Perelman is a capable technician and storyteller, and too many directors have been done in by the weaknesses of the written material.

It's not encouraging, but I'll reserve judgment, especially with moviemaking having so many variables. I wouldn't have thought that Matthew Vaughn, who baked a "Layer Cake" of dubious quality with Daniel Craig (a.k.a. James Bond redivivus), would be able to handle intricate fantasy ... and yet he wove a compelling tapestry at the helm of "Stardust," one of the artistic and entertainment triumphs of the year. (About which, much more later.)

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On the one hand, Perelman directed the plot-hole-riddled gloomfest "House of Sand and Fog."

(I can't do better than my brother did to eviscerate this film — you can read his review here. Along with a sizable blast at the altruism in "It's a Wonderful Life," even though he's not Objectivist.)

On the other hand, Perelman is a capable technician and storyteller, and too many directors have been done in by the weaknesses of the written material.

It's not encouraging, but I'll reserve judgment, especially with moviemaking having so many variables. I wouldn't have thought that Matthew Vaughn, who baked a "Layer Cake" of dubious quality with Daniel Craig (a.k.a. James Bond redivivus), would be able to handle intricate fantasy ... and yet he wove a compelling tapestry at the helm of "Stardust," one of the artistic and entertainment triumphs of the year. (About which, much more later.)

I predict that if the picture is made at all, there will be the gnashing of teeth and the tearing of garments. Wait and see....

Before the first frame is projected half the folks will love the move and half will hate it. A year after it is show, if it is shown at all, more than half will hate it. Mark my words and hold me to my prediction. Considering what the movies folks did to -The Fountainhead-, my prediction is not that all unlikely.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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~ Haven't seen this HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG thing; comment/review-wise, clearly no one who's seen it finds it 'so-so': they love it or hate it (talk about b&w perspectives!). --- Ntl, from what R. Bidinotto said on his site about Perelman, I'd say that there's a good chance that the *single* movie might be a fairly acceptable Cliff's-Notes version of AS.

~ 'Sides, who knows? There might be a DVD 'Director's Cut' Extended version of it. Actually, I look forward a bit to the 'behind-the-scenes' Special-Feature on it...when e-v-e-r.

~ Further, as we all know, if a movie's popularly 'impressive' enough (1st box-office, then the producers' noticing that), there's always (granted, no sooner than a generation later) 're-makes.' :whistle: --- But, that 'IF' has to come through 1st; otherwise...its cinematic future (in our lifetime) is :nuke:

LLAP

J:D

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One of the film producers -- I can't remember which, but I think it might have been Michael Burns -- said to me that on the DVD, there could be a "director's cut" considerably longer than the theatrical version.

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One of the film producers — I can't remember which, but I think it might have been Michael Burns — said to me that on the DVD, there could be a "director's cut" considerably longer than the theatrical version.

That's fairly common these days, so much so that it's almost unremarkable. It has three limitations, though, that would make additions of any more than about 10 percent (here, 12 to 15 minutes) highly unlikely.

~ DVDs rely heavily on those who want to reinforce their experience of having seen the film in the theater. Not so much for repeating their experience with rental or purchase traffic, as providing positive word of mouth to encourage such rentals or sales. That audience, especially enthusiasts for the film, expects to see substantially the same film that was shown in the theater.

~ A longer "director's cut" often only gets released if some other non-plot element exists to sell it. One successful recent example is "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," starring Steve Carell. The longer "Unrated Version" relied on the promise of far more sexual allusion and innuendo, openly (and ribaldly) advertised as such. More plot exposition, without something to offset it, is rarely that compelling a sale, especially for dramas.

~ Material that's filmed, but ends up being cut, is rarely taken away from a film at a late stage of editing. Usually it's removed prior to any extensive "post-production." This includes precise interweaving of cuts, redubbing of voices, remixing of sound effects, and creation of visual effects. Almost always, no musical score is created for such material. This all involves sheer economics. The filmmakers won't put such intense, expensive glosses on material that, at least for the theatrical release, will not be seen. It's considered to be a waste of money (and interest paid on same), and the bean-counters have a point.

"Deleted scenes" on a DVD strike a balance among all three of these issues. For the enthusiasts, the original film's flow, editing, and length are left untouched. For the marketers, "bonus features" help sell the movie on the back of the DVD box. For the accountants, the added clips are rarely given much final polish, and even usually show up with the editing apparatus visible above and below the widescreen image.

A "director's cut," though, essentially is a re-editing of the movie, putting the added material into the flow of the story, with new and often substantial cost incurred to make it flow seamlessly — in editing, audio, music, and visuals. Unless it's a guaranteed sale otherwise (like the "Virgin" sex-fest), this usually only happens with a director of considerable reputation and pull.

Robert Wise managed this, extensively recutting "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" after more than 20 years to include about six minutes of cut material. And to rearrange scenes, cut other scenes, re-mix the music, and have visual effects redone (through CGI) closer to his original intention than the film's rushed birth had allowed. It greatly helped that he had long been a film editor himself, back to "Citizen Kane."

All this revision, though, for a DVD re-release cost at least $1 million. Paramount paid for it because "Trek" has a built-in audience, as did Wise in being an illustrious — and Oscared, and fervent-fan-genre — director, one who had the clout to pull this off, and who was unlikely to make the studio lose money on the project.

I doubt, frankly, that a Vadim Perelman will manage to have this much clout. "Atlas" is highly unlikely to ever get a director's cut. It might easily have some deleted scenes ... well, that is, if the production has the spare cash to film very much that isn't ultimately used in theaters. With how this production appears to be financially tenuous, at least from seeing outside reports, I'll be quite surprised if Lions Gate gives much leeway for that to happen.

"Atlas" might well get its 10 or 12 added minutes on disc ... but for a story of this scope, is that really going to add very much? Especially if it's not placed within the original film?

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  • 2 weeks later...

Greybird:

~ You've just shown up and are finding out things you'd rather not find out about the expected movie-version of AS. May I suggest you check some archives (here and in ROR.) Others familiar with *my* repeated reservations (over the last several years, posted hereabouts) about this truncated version of AS know that I'm not expecting all THAT much.

~ Ntl, from what Bidinotto argued about the worth of Perelman, I'm willing to 'wait-and-see' whilst NOT expecting a movie done in the manner of 'paragraph=scene'. (What book HAS ever been done that way? Even Rand implicitly explained "NO WAY!" on that.)

~ I'd prefer a 'mini-series' version (DVD, preferably oriented, as some noted movies already have been). Still...I have to say at this point, let's give these pre-movie criticisms a break; at least until the movie is (ever?) finished.

~ Just a thought.

LLAP

J:D

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Yet again, I can't figure out what you're talking about.

You've just shown up and are finding out things you'd rather not find out about the expected movie-version of AS.

I've been here since March. (I didn't post this Summer.) "Rather not find out"? I don't think the director, only recently announced, is a promising choice. That involves my seeing Lions Gate as having made a less than optimal choice, not wanting to be kept ignorant.

May I suggest you check some archives (here and in ROR).

Why? And how much are you paying me to go look at that cesspool? I take PayPal. {g}

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Echoing Robert's statements about Vadim Perelman, I posted the following to his blog:

"Robert, I am delighted that your assessment of Vadim Perelman exactly matches mine. I spent about an hour talking with him at the end of the conference, and I was enormously impressed with his remarkable understanding of and sensitivity to Rand's intentions. The words you used in describing the qualities he can bring to the film -- integrity, independence, creativity, and subtlety -- are precisely my assessment of his strong points. And I would add: a passionate commitment to his assignment, and a very high order of intelligence. I had seen some earlier versions of the script, and I began to tell him what I thought was missing from them -- and he was ahead of me in naming the omissions, saying, about each one: 'But of course I've put that back.' I came away from our conversation feeling more optimistic than I've ever felt about the prospective film, and feeling that this is the man, at last, who can do justice to Rand's great novel."

Barbara

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Barbara, thanks.

We both know how challenging it will be to do justice to Rand's story, and that no film can possibly be a line-by-line transcription of the novel. But it IS possible to take Rand's plot and characters and translate them to the screen in a way that EMBODIES rather than PREACHES her ideas.

In this regard, I invite readers to reread Rand's essay "The Goal of My Writing" (in The Romantic Manifesto). Those who are complaining, in advance, that the film won't be didactic enough about Objectivism entirely miss the point of what Rand was trying to accomplish with her fiction. Read her own words on this subject -- then ask yourself: How would SHE have approached this film?

As I've said elsewhere, too many fans of Rand's work view her fiction as mere propaganda for Objectivism, and her characters as little more than "premises with feet." They just don't GET Ayn Rand.

But alas, that's a common affliction within the Objectivist community.

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Barbara, thanks.

We both know how challenging it will be to do justice to Rand's story, and that no film can possibly be a line-by-line transcription of the novel. But it IS possible to take Rand's plot and characters and translate them to the screen in a way that EMBODIES rather than PREACHES her ideas.

In this regard, I invite readers to reread Rand's essay "The Goal of My Writing" (in The Romantic Manifesto). Those who are complaining, in advance, that the film won't be didactic enough about Objectivism entirely miss the point of what Rand was trying to accomplish with her fiction. Read her own words on this subject -- then ask yourself: How would SHE have approached this film?

As I've said elsewhere, too many fans of Rand's work view her fiction as mere propaganda for Objectivism, and her characters as little more than "premises with feet." They just don't GET Ayn Rand.

But alas, that's a common affliction within the Objectivist community.

Your line about not Getting Ayn Rand is so true. Sadly it is true of her admirers.
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  • 2 weeks later...

Greybird:

~ You ask me 'Why? [re what you regard as 'that cesspool']

~ My answer is what I already implied: to avoid giving obvious-to-others redundant complaints which most (pre- your March arrival) readers are already, really, quite, if not v-e-r-y, familiar with.

~ How much am I willing to pay...you? As much as I've been paid to read your redundant misgivings, advice-ignoring, and suggestions for my using PenPal.

~ Offensive, the advice, you found, clearly. Not to worry; happen again, not, it will.

J:D

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  • 1 month later...
Barbara, thanks.

We both know how challenging it will be to do justice to Rand's story, and that no film can possibly be a line-by-line transcription of the novel. But it IS possible to take Rand's plot and characters and translate them to the screen in a way that EMBODIES rather than PREACHES her ideas.

In this regard, I invite readers to reread Rand's essay "The Goal of My Writing" (in The Romantic Manifesto). Those who are complaining, in advance, that the film won't be didactic enough about Objectivism entirely miss the point of what Rand was trying to accomplish with her fiction. Read her own words on this subject -- then ask yourself: How would SHE have approached this film?

As I've said elsewhere, too many fans of Rand's work view her fiction as mere propaganda for Objectivism, and her characters as little more than "premises with feet." They just don't GET Ayn Rand.

But alas, that's a common affliction within the Objectivist community.

Let's all face common sense shall we? No semi intelligent reader of any book has ever walked away from the cinematic representation of it and exclaimed, "Wow! That was just like the book! This movie is a perfect and full representation!"

I predict now it'll be a fantastic movie and well received by the public in general. Sales of Atlas Shrugged will go through the roof. All that matters is that the general ideas are conveyed to the audience. If you disagree with this idea then you might as well be more honest and state you wish for no film to be made at all, at any time in the future.

As a heroine, Dagny needs to be sexy. It suits the character.

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Barbara, thanks.

We both know how challenging it will be to do justice to Rand's story, and that no film can possibly be a line-by-line transcription of the novel. But it IS possible to take Rand's plot and characters and translate them to the screen in a way that EMBODIES rather than PREACHES her ideas.

In this regard, I invite readers to reread Rand's essay "The Goal of My Writing" (in The Romantic Manifesto). Those who are complaining, in advance, that the film won't be didactic enough about Objectivism entirely miss the point of what Rand was trying to accomplish with her fiction. Read her own words on this subject -- then ask yourself: How would SHE have approached this film?

As I've said elsewhere, too many fans of Rand's work view her fiction as mere propaganda for Objectivism, and her characters as little more than "premises with feet." They just don't GET Ayn Rand.

But alas, that's a common affliction within the Objectivist community.

Let's all face common sense shall we? No semi intelligent reader of any book has ever walked away from the cinematic representation of it and exclaimed, "Wow! That was just like the book! This movie is a perfect and full representation!"

I predict now it'll be a fantastic movie and well received by the public in general. Sales of Atlas Shrugged will go through the roof. All that matters is that the general ideas are conveyed to the audience. If you disagree with this idea then you might as well be more honest and state you wish for no film to be made at all, at any time in the future.

As a heroine, Dagny needs to be sexy. It suits the character.

Excellent post. You do not sell the hamburger, you sell the sizzle - in all the human senses.

This is a great opportunity to allow people to think what can be through whatever subconsious or conscious stimuli they have attuned themselves to. It is similar to the Ron Paul campaign. How many i n d v d u a l s will read, explore and change the path of the future, if they allow themselves to think.

O'Bama's campaign is an infinitesmal spark of what is available to reach persons, particularly young persons, to the selfish advantages of constitutionally limited government.

The movie should only build on this awakening in people nationwide. Believe me if the DC second amendment case affirms Appellate Court Judge Silberman's brilliant opinion and analysis, we are, potentially moving forward towards a society which we individualists [almost sounds like a grammatical anomaly] can grow in.

Otherwise...

Adam

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After seen -The Golden Compass- I nominate Nichole Kidman for the part of Lillian Reardan.

Brrr... What a cold evil women she played.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Actually I once did leave a movie thinking it was a perfectly faithful representation of the book - Mr. Arkadin, movie and novel both by Orson Welles. Maybe the movie came first and the book was a novelization.

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A quick look at IMDB suggests that Welles may have turned his screenplay and story into a novel. Welles always needed money.

Edited by Chris Grieb
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