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Monday, May 31, 2010 - 10:48amSanction this postReply
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Hope springs eternal.



Post 1

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 11:04amSanction this postReply
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I dislike being pessimistic about this, but I gotta bad feeling this ain't gonna end well.

The only Paul Johansson (listed as director in the blurb) listed on IMDB is the actor from the One Tree Hill TV series (and other credits.) This is not a project for a first time director, so I hope the blurb is simply wrong.

That said, even though I regard the director as the least important of the major elements in filmmaking (screenplay, producer, actor, director), I don't see how anyone working today could pull this off. Without someone like William Wyler, John Farrow, or Victor Fleming at the helm it's hard to see how the film could do anything even close to justice to the novel.

It's certainly true, even a cliche, that a movie is not a book and never can be. But if you alienate the millions of happy readers, likely to be the first weekend audience, your box office is going to suffer. That's before even considering issues of style, quality, and so forth. (And also avoiding the ever-sticky debate about whether any actor today could perform the roles.) Imagine if Gone With the Wind had been done not by David O. Selznick and Victor Fleming (who took over after George Cukor was fired at the start of filming) but by Louis Nobody and Charlie Chaplin.

I honestly hope my fears are misplaced, but I can't help but believe that in the film business and culture of today it's simply impossible to make a good movie out of that book. I would love to be proved wrong, but -- having seen over 3,000 films from 1935-1965 and several hundred from 1965-today, I can't help but be highly skeptical at best. Not least, I'd like to be wrong because I'd like to see a good contemporary movie, something that comes around about once every five years now, if one is lucky.


(Edited by Jeff Perren on 5/31, 11:05am)




Post 2

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 11:21amSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

I can begin to, though not fully, understand your dismay. A counterpoint to your point is that -- with the social unrest best exemplified by the Tea Party movement -- it is the exact "right time" in America for this movie to come out (preferably before any "re-elections" in 2012).

Sometimes it's better to look up at the grand, inspiring horizon and begin to walk toward it -- without paying great attention or care to each individual step that you take.

Ed

p.s. Yes, I realize that that's how folks often trip and fall down.



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Post 3

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 11:35amSanction this postReply
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I'm actually kinda encouraged by this.  Great things can come from a novice with vision, and I can't think of anything more appropriate for Atlas Shrugged than an "independent film."  :)






Post 4

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 12:07pmSanction this postReply
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Teresa, I salute your optimism about life, but I can't honestly think of a single real-life example where that has been true in any field of art. It strikes me as even less likely to happen in film.

It takes years to acquire the skills to produce quality cinema. A first-time director may show promise but has one ever produced a really good film, especially with a piece of material as complex as Atlas Shrugged? Does Aguilar have any film producing experience? (It takes more than just money to keep a production on track, practically and esthetically and that is not all up to the director, usually.)

Ed, a fair response, but do you believe the purpose of art is to make political statements, even ones badly needed? Can that result in a good film? Has there ever been an example of that?

My chief concern is whether or not it will make a good film, followed at a distance by whether or not it will harm the book's reputation (and turn off more than it turns to). Even that secondary issue is an open question in my mind (which could only be settled by actually seeing the film, of course).
(Edited by Jeff Perren on 5/31, 12:24pm)




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Post 5

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 1:05pmSanction this postReply
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Teresa, I salute your optimism about life, but I can't honestly think of a single real-life example where that has been true in any field of art.

I can. A little film called "Rocky."  Stallone did the whole thing with almost no experience under his belt.

Another more recent example would be "Juno."   It can be done.

(Edited by Teresa Summerlee Isanhart on 5/31, 1:09pm)




Post 6

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 1:33pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

My response is that all serious thinkers who move the world will -- regardless of the quality of a movie -- will judge a book not by its cover (or by its movie), but will read the damn book.

Rand's legacy will remain intact.

Ed



Post 7

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 2:17pmSanction this postReply
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I'm dying to know who's cast for what. 

 




Post 8

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 4:28pmSanction this postReply
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Teresa,

Rocky is a good example. Point taken.

I haven't seen Juno, but Reitman had nearly 10 years (7 films) of directing experience before it (and ten more years of acting experience before that).



Post 9

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 7:22pmSanction this postReply
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Ed Hudgins, Thanks for the update!



Post 10

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 9:25pmSanction this postReply
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This site lists a different director, but still a first-timer (sort of). At least this one has some producer credits.

Atlas Shrugged will be directed by Stephen Polk, an actor/producer whose father, Louis Polk, was once MGM chairman. He considers Atlas Shrugged to be his feature directing debut, though Polk acknowledges he stepped in and helmed the 2008 indie Baggage. Aglialoro was unavailable to speak directly, but sent a missive indicating that hes courting actresses like Theron and Maggie Gyllenhaal to play Taggart. Sources in the camps of both actresses were aware of the project, but neither is planning to go to work on Atlas Shrugged next month.


How can filming start June 11 with no cast? I think something else was meant by "Begin filming" than what one would normally associate with those words.
(Edited by Jeff Perren on 5/31, 9:26pm)

P.S. The comment section began well enough and then very rapidly devolved into exactly the sort of Progressive hate-fest one has come to expect on Internet sites today. I swear the f**ks are like a gorram black plague virus. They simply infect every healthy host they can find and play holy hell with all living systems.
(Edited by Jeff Perren on 5/31, 9:35pm)




Post 11

Monday, May 31, 2010 - 11:57pmSanction this postReply
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I haven't seen Juno, but Reitman had nearly 10 years (7 films) of directing experience before it (and ten more years of acting experience before that).

I read three films, but whatever.  The screenplay was written by a totally inexperienced woman who was a former exotic dancer. Writing is more important than direction in your view, so I mentioned it.

See Juno if you get the opportunity. I loved it.




Post 12

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 12:02amSanction this postReply
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Ed's update said that "casting is nearly complete."  Scenes can be filmed before a whole cast is chosen.



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Post 13

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 8:59amSanction this postReply
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Holy cow!







Post 14

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 10:08amSanction this postReply
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A quick note: Our info comes from John Aglialoro who's producing the film. And David Kelley is still involved in the project. We'll keep you posted on further developments!



Post 15

Tuesday, June 1, 2010 - 6:12pmSanction this postReply
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Jeff,

Ed, a fair response, but do you believe the purpose of art is to make political statements, even ones badly needed?
Good question. I wouldn't say that the purpose of art is to make political statements but I would say that its purpose would be, more generally, to be inspiring. Of course, I'm speaking as a romantic realist (the best kind of artist). Other artists, such as the damn naturalists, would say that the purpose of art is to copy reality.

Can that result in a good film? Has there ever been an example of that?
I don't think it can, but now we're talking past each other. You see, I view any exposure -- even bad exposure -- as being good for Objectivism and, therefore, for man on earth.
The more Objectivism gets in the public eye, the better. The reason that that is true is because it sells itself. Objectivism doesn't need to be dressed up in fancy advertising in order to try to persuade folks into initially 'believing in it.' Instead, it just needs to get a hearing (it doesn't even need a fair hearing -- that's how good it is). This is why it's all-but-completely shut-out of university courses -- because other philosophies simply cannot compete with Objectivism (when scrupulously compared to it). 

On the other hand, you sound like you are arguing for art for art's sake. An ungenerous analogy would be a Kung Fu movie where a master's student fought and successfully killed a terrible, terrible outlaw. Turning toward his master and expecting praise for the good deed he had done, he is met with a stern look and is, instead, punished ...

... because he didn't kill the outlaw in the right way (utilizing all of his skills at all of the right times during the fight). In this analogy, the Kung Fu master is arguing for Kung Fu for Kung Fu's sake. Nevermind that the terrible, terrible man was dealt full justice -- no, that's not good (if it isn't done "right").

Do you agree, Jeff, that you are -- in this instance -- viewing art like the Kung Fu master viewed Kung Fu (as a re-ified "good" in-and-of-itself -- as an intrinsic value)?

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 6/01, 6:15pm)




Post 16

Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 1:22pmSanction this postReply
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> See Juno if you get the opportunity. I loved it.

Juno -was- wonderful, Teresa. Your examples of that and "Rocky" as being something produced by first timers are points very well taken. I know there have been other such movies, but I'm drawing a blank at the moment.

OTOH, some of Jeff P's points give one pause.

OTTH (on the third hand), you can't judge a movie by its as yet non-existent cover. And - to shift from trite literary to trite culinary metaphor - the fewer cooks are stirring (or peeing) in the pot in today's Hollywood, the more savory the dish seems to turn out.

OT4H, Actors in the major parts need time to digest something, to think through, to 'live in' the character if they are to do a good job. So I'm relieved that some of it has been cast already, as long as its the major parts and it wasn't just this month...so that they have lots of time before they start filming.

The more complex an undertaking, the more time you need to do it well.
(Edited by Philip Coates on 6/03, 1:27pm)




Post 17

Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 4:21pmSanction this postReply
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A director can issue exactly the right communication to a stuck or confused actor and make pure magic.  For all I know, this young director is a huge Rand fan. Or perhaps he is now. There are lots and lots and LOTS of pre-production meetings, readings and run-through. Everyone should be warmed up before a camera is even turned on.

Penny Marshall had nothing but television experience before directing films. Granted, JJF was horrible, but "Big" made up for it. :)


  • Jumpin' Jack Flash (1986)
  • Big (1988)
  • Awakenings  (1990)
  • A League of Their Own (1992)
  • Renaissance Man (1994)
  • The Preacher's Wife (1996)
  • Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)




  • Post 18

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 4:26pmSanction this postReply
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    And so did "A League of Their Own". And so did "Renaissance Man."



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    Post 19

    Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 6:50pmSanction this postReply
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    I can sympathise with the hand wringing, but there is so damn much to work with, I don't see how it could suck.

    Everyone has their own vision for an Atlas Shrugged movie, but I wish more Objectivists would rally around this. It's a big deal. 




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