A few years ago I learned that Atlas Shrugged was going to be made into a movie. I’ll admit: I was skeptical. I had a very stern conversation with a friend of mine about how the director had a huge movie on his hands and he’d better not mess it up or us literary folks would be angry. Atlas Shrugged is a classic, and until Paul Ryan came along, was revered as a great story regardless of politics.
I had wondered for years whether it would be made into a modern-day movie. At one point I heard that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt were going to be cast as Dagny Taggart and Hank Reardon, which made me a bit mad. It was too “Hollywood” for me. At the time, Scarlett Johansson and James Franco were just gaining in popularity and I envisioned them as the main characters. They both have that old-timey and timeless classic appeal, physically.
Regardless, the movie was picked up, cast (without my choices), and released in several parts. And I must confess that I liked Part I. I know it got terrible reviews and literary critics will hate me, but I did. My husband has never read the book and enjoyed it from a purely movie’ish standpoint, and I was able to separate the massive book from the film and enjoy it right alongside with him. So I was looking forward to the second movie.
Big mistake. Remember when I said that the director had a big movie on his hands and had better not mess it up? He did. Well, actually, everyone did. The second movie was made with an entirely different cast and director. I mean an entirely different cast. They were completely different movies. And now they have announced a third and have yet to announce the cast! AND, they are talking about adding in scenes left out of the book (a conversation with Dagny and a priest) and perhaps making Part III a musical. A MUSICAL! WHAT?! I am beyond words. BEYOND WORDS.
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. The original director, Paul Johansson (of One Tree Hill fame), stepped in 9 days before filming began to replace the fired director that preceded him. He clearly had no vested interest or respect for the novel as the epic masterpiece that it is. But the real kick in the gut is that he also played John Galt. You can’t just change John Galt! The whole book is centered around John Galt. The reason for the switches? Why, money of course! The actors in the first movie became more popular and the production company couldn’t afford them. It seems to me like this is something they should have figured out before even starting the first film.
In all honestly, I will probably watch the 3rd installment (unless it’s a musical) because I’m already so livid that I may as well add fuel to the fire. But what about you? Have you seen the movie(s)? What did you think?