The Farrah Fawcett – Ayn Rand Connection

No, really.

Ayn Rand reached out to Farrah, and wanted her to play Dagny Taggart in a TV miniseries version of Atlas Shrugged, sounds like circa 1980.

I can see it. Done in retro-40s costume, maybe? Or hypermoderne science fiction style?

Either way would have been cool. A big budget, big-name miniseries would have been the best way to film the (very long) novel.

Farrah would have been a very interesting casting choice, though not looking anything like the Dagny in the book.

(I don’t think Angelina Jolie, does either, but she is going to play Dagny in the upcoming movie, apparently, if that ever actually happens. Now is the time for the movie, though. At the beginning of the Reagan Era, we did not need it as badly as we need it now.)

Who would have played Hank Reardon, Francisco D’Anconia, John Galt, Midas Morgan and Ragnar Danneskjöld, circa 1980? Who should play them now?

Those are just the names I remember without looking them up. And I last opened the book in High School. The book does have a way of sticking with you.

I benefitted from exposure to Ayn Rand, but I never became a Randian. So it all worked out OK.

Link via Dr. Frank

70 thoughts on “The Farrah Fawcett – Ayn Rand Connection”

  1. Only one man could have been cast as Francisco D’Anconia. That man was Ricardo Montelban. Now that Ricardo has moved forever to that big Starship Enterprise / Chrysler Cordoba in the sky, I fear that a proper movie version of Rand’s book will never be made.

  2. Midas Mulligan, not Midas Morgan. He should be played by Christopher Walken (alt: Clint Eastwood). Val Kilmer would make a good Ragnar. George Clooney would make a good Hank Reardon, though I kind of doubt he would take the roll, given his political activism. Perhaps Christian Bale would be a good John Galt. Heath Ledger would have been perfect, but he suffers from an unfortunate case of deadness.

  3. I read Atlas Shrugged again late last year and I spent some time considering who I woudld cast in the movie if it were made now.

    Dagny Taggert – Diane Lane

    Ragnar Danneskjöld – Nathan Fillion

    James Taggert – Vince Vaughn

    Francisco D’Anconia – Benjamin Bratt

    John Galt – Colin Hanks

    Wesley Mouch – William Atherton

  4. Beck, good catch, but I’ll leave it since I admitted I was going off of memory.

    I like Christian Bale, but he is a little too wooden, I think.

    I am so out of touch with popular culture I really have no idea who the current actors are who could possibly play any of these parts. I thought that Wes Bently was good in The Four Feathers. He might do as Reardon or even Galt.

  5. I benefitted so much from Ayn Rand that I became a Randian. It’s working out great so far.

    Atlas is more fun to fantasy-cast than The Fountainhead as there are many more exciting characters. I think Galt would be the toughest to get exactly right. His revolution is a moral one and a highly articulate one – and on top of that he’s the unknown common man (“Who is John Galt?”). Ideally it’d be a highly talented unknown. Either way, it’s a perilous casting choice.

  6. If a Latino man with a sci fi background and serious gravitas is needed for Francisco D’Anconia, might I suggest Edward James Olmos?


  7. 1980:
    Hank Reardon: Harrison Ford
    Francisco D’Anconia: Andy Garcia
    John Galt: Gary Sinise or Sam Elliott
    Midas Mulligan: Charlton Heston or John Huston
    Ragnar Danneskjöld: Max Von Sydow

    Hank Reardon: Denzel Washington
    Francisco D’Anconia: Benicio Del Toro or Javier Bardem
    John Galt: Brad Pitt
    Midas Mulligan: Christopher Walken or James Woods
    Ragnar Danneskjöld: Stellan Skarsgard

  8. If we’re talking 1980, De Niro should have played Galt and Faye Dunaway should have been Dagny. How about Steve Steve McQueen for Reardon?

  9. Edward James Olmos is a bit old looking for the part of Francisco, I think.

    And Christian Bale could maybe be Wesley Mouch….with that smirk he always seems to have.

    How about Russel Crowe as John Galt? Or perhaps Ragnar, and Nathan Filion as Galt?

    Of course, Ms. Jolie seems to have the Dagny roll. How about her father (John Voight) for Midas Mulligan? Or Hugh Akston?

    Harrison Ford would be age appropriate for one of the industrialists rolls – Wyatt?

    And any of hollywoods talentless box-office draws could handle any of the looters rolls.

    A cast like “The Longest Day”, perhaps?

  10. “A cast like “The Longest Day”, perhaps?”

    The thing should be done on an epic scale.

    So, yes, big budget, big cast, big names, the whole thing.

  11. It’s not circa 1980, but there is one and only one actor for John Galt. Jude Law.

    Daniel Craig, George Clooney or Clive Owen would be good Reardon’s.

    For Dagny I like Angie Harmon.

    Francisco has got to be an impressive physical specimen, but with depth. Maybe that Oliver dude from “unfaithful”.

  12. Whoever is cast, the movie can’t fail to be better than the book. (sorry!) The book is like Frankenstein, it embodies one primal idea, is ugly as sin, and it won’t go away. And thats coming from a 100% free-marketer.

  13. John, there are some books that are important because of their literary merit. Others are important because they, as you put it, embody one (or more) primal ideas.

    Ayn Rand’s book is popular to this day because it embodies the primal ideas of freedom and creativity and hatred of the brute power of the state to destroy both.

    If the ideological weapon that can be used to advance those primal ideas is less than perfect as art, I could not care less.

    Atlas Shrugged is a necessary weapon in a struggle that the forces of freedom are currently, badly, losing.

    That is all I care about.

    Plus, I read the book as a kid and it stuck with me because it is a great book, despite its artistic flaws, which are irrelevant compared to its message.

  14. Note to Lexington Green and others: the followers of Ayn Rand hate, absolutely hate, the term “Randian”. It implies a blind, cult-like attitude that is anathema to her followers. The name of her philosophy is “Objectivism” and her followers should be called “Objectivists”. If you respect her works at all, please use those terms.

    I would be hard-pressed to pick any modern actors/actresses to play the various parts. Remember,
    Dagny, Ragnar, Francisco and Galt are in their teens, 20’s and 30’s during Atlas Shrugged. Many of the actors which have been proposed just don’t fit.

    Edward James Olmos is way too old and hardly handsome enough to play Francisco. Remember, Francisco is described as stunningly handsome and that is a significant part of his character. Almeida is marginally handsome enough, but too old to play Francisco in his early years. Raul Julia is handsome enough, but again, too old now.

    I just don’t see Angelina Jolie as Dagny. Those lips just don’t match the descriptions of Dagny as rather severe and angular. I always thought of her as rather skinny and certainly not buxom. Her one feature which was emphasized were her legs. Diane Lane is just was too curvy to me. As far as looks go, I thought Farrah Fawcett would be OK if they could tame her hair, but I never believed she had the gravitas or understanding to handle the part.

    Hank Reardon is supposed to be in his 40’s and have a face that was angular. Given the anguish he goes through, I always thought of his face as furrowed and somewhat craggy.

    Ragnar was supposed to be “beautiful”. Given his history, I always assumed he would have a very Nordic look.

    I’ve always found trying to cast John Galt as the most difficult of all. He is supposed to be handsome with long brown hair–a “face without pain or fear or guilt.” I might be able to accept
    someone such as Nathan Fillion, but that would a stretch.

    The movie “The Fountainhead” is illustrative of the difficulties in casting a film based on Rand’s work. Patricia Neal is a very believable Dominique and Raymond Massey is good, although not great, as Gail Wynand. Kent Smith is OK, albeit shallow, as Peter Keating. By far, the best performance is Robert Douglas’s portrayal of Ellsworth Toohey. Gary Cooper, although he was Rand’s choice for the part, was a disaster. His performance is halting, muddled and without any heft. His dramatic courtroom speech comes off as flat, wooden and unconvincing. He obviously does not understand (or believe) the role he is playing.

    I fear any production of Atlas Shrugged will have the same problem. Finding actors who can play the villains in a convincing way is not hard, but finding actors who can play the heroes is almost impossible. Given the current state of our culture and, more specifically, Hollywood I fear that finding any actors to play the heroes in a convincing and believable way is almost impossible.

  15. Everyone is leaving out one of the most important characters in the story-Eddie Willers.
    Who would play him?

  16. Francisco D’Anconia – Andy Garcia or Sergi Lopez (from Dirty Pretty Things) or, he’s getting a little long in the tooth now, but Mandy Pantinkin made an excellent Spaniard in The Princess Bride…or, Robert Downey Jr.?

    Dagny Taggart – actually, I think Angelina has the ability to convey sex and strength, but Diane Lane is a good suggestion also.

    John Galt – Ed Burns or Guy Pearce (Colin Hanks’ face is way too soft and fleshy)

    The Nathan Fillion as Ragnar Danneskjöld and Vince Vaughan as James Taggart sound okay and I don’t have any nominations of my own.

  17. Every time I see Robert Reich (Clinton econ advisor) I think of Wesley Mouch. He already spouts the claptrap of Mouch and his look is described almost exactly in the book. Just sayin.

  18. Note to Scott Eudaley, to the extent that people do display a blind, cult-like attitude toward Ayn Rand, as far too many of them do, then you are correct to admit that the word Randian applies to them. That is precisely what I did not become, thank God — God being someone Ayn Rand didn’t much like, either — and that is why I used it. I knew about the word “Objectivism” when I was ten years old, so I don’t need to be instructed by you. It is a philosophy which I neither practice nor believe in, though I suppose it is theoretically possible to do so with out being a Randian.

    I will use the terms I deem appropriate, as I did and will continue to do. The feelings of Miss Rand’s followers are of zero interest to me. The book’s value is in no way based on the existence or behavior of these followers. If they did not exist, the book would have its same value. The value and impact of any movie will have nothing to do with this community, either, most likely.

    “I fear any production of Atlas Shrugged will have the same problem.”

    Any film version of the book will make Objectivists, Randians and other followers of Miss Rand, however they denominate themselves, miserable.

    No movie can live up to the book, for a person who loves the book.

    That is inevitable. It is a non-issue.

    The interesting issue is whether the movie can introduce millions of people to a (largely) valuable set of ideas in an appealing way, that can impact the culture in a favorable way.

    That may be possible. I hope it happens.

  19. Rand’s considerable literary skills always paid homage to man’s reasoning mind and his nobility of spirit. It’s odd to see her appeal called “primal” – she was primal like Thatcher was timid and Einstein was foolish.

  20. A commenter used the word “primal”. I think me meant basic or fundamental, not primitive.

    Actually, I don’t think she had considerable literary skills. She had a very clear idea of what was wrong with the world and who was responsible, and to some extent, what should be done about it. She saw clearly, she had a work ethic, and she pounded on her typewriter. That is all good but it is not exactly literary skill. Lumberjacking is not cabinetry. You still need it. It is just something else. She was very much in the tradition of Russian polemical fiction, which is more interested in the didactic point, and any literary considerations get tossed into the ditch by the side of the road. Stylistically she had more in common with her Soviet enemies than she did with the writers who actually lived in the relatively free countries of the West. The book has lasted because of its didactic content and its simple, blunt style that conveys that content.

  21. Francisco, a character who is essentially Tony Stark, should once again be played by Robert Downey Jr. Natalie Portman has the right combination of sex appeal and gravitas to play Dagny – and is a better physical match than Angelina Jolie. Daniel Craig as philosophy-student-turned-pirate Ragnar, only because Sam Neill might be too old. Nathan Fillion as stoic, determined (and slightly naive) Hank Rearden, any contestant vying for engagement on The Bachelor as Lillian Rearden and Brad Pitt as John Galt – if only to keep his wife from badmouthing the project because she was passed over.

    Oh, and Glenn Reynolds as Dr Hugh Akston.

  22. One of the other posters hit a point that concerns me. Due to the absolutely anti-political correctness of the book, I wouldn’t trust most Hollywood types not to intentionally ruin the movie.

    That said, I think that Dagney could have been played well by either Linda Hamilton or Sigourney Weaver. They both have the right almost manic energy for the part. Today, I think Ms. Weaver is a bit old although I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    I think that Hugh Akston could be done by Morgan Freeman, he has the right gravity.

    For John Galt, what about Chris Pine? He played James Kirk in the recent Star Trek movie.

  23. Hmm, Angie Harmon….that could work! She’s a much better physical match than Angelina….

  24. Uh-oh. Now we’re going to start picking bloggers instead of actors to cast the movie. The sad thing is, they’ll be a better fit (Rachel Lucas as Dagny? Yeah, baby!).

  25. They waited too long to make the movie. In a couple of years, the scenes of over-regulation that are supposed to make the audience react in horror will be just recapitulations of everyday life.

    There seem to be more than a few business executives trying to play the roles of Orren Boyle and James Taggart.

  26. Lex:

    I asked pleasantly enough (I thought) to be referred to differently. You snottily refused and added further insults. I will simply note that Christians bow to no one when it comes to cult-like behavior and the self-induced blindness known as faith.

    Back to the subject at hand, some further notes on Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged and film:

    1) Atlas Shrugged is really too big a novel for any single film, no matter how epic. I believe it is best suited as a 3 part mini-series. The novel is divided into 3 parts and each of the first two parts ends in quite dramatic fashion that are natural “cliff-hangers” to entice the viewer into watching the next part. “Non-contradiction” ends with a train crash. “Either-or” ends with a plane crash. And of course, the final part, “A is A”, ends with an assault on a government installation to rescue the hero.

    2) If not a mini-series, they could do what the Italians did with the only other movie ever made from one of her novels. During World War II, the Fascist government of Italy decided to make an anti-communist movie using some of the biggest stars in Italian cinema. They chose Rand’s We the Living. It was directed by Goffredo Alessandrini and starred Alida Valli, Rossano Brazzi and Fosco Giachetti. Since it was such long book, they actually made two movies: “Kyra’s Story” and “We the Living” and released them at the same time. In some theaters, they were run back-to-back. In other places, one theater would run one and another theater would the run the other. People flocked to the movie. After a few weeks, the government realized that the book and movies were an indictment of ALL totalitarian governments, including their own Fascist one. The movies were quickly yanked from the theaters and disappeared. All of this was done without Rand’s knowledge. She didn’t know that the movies existed until the 60’s and wasn’t able to get a copy of it until the early 70’s. They are now available on DVD I believe.

    3) If you’re interested in another movie involving Ayn Rand, check out “Love Letters” (1945) with Joseph Cotton and Jennifer Jones. Rand wrote the screenplay based on the novel by Christopher Massie.

    4) As another option, I’ve often thought that Atlas Shrugged might best be done as an animated film. Given the populariy of animated films these days (the wife and I loved “Up”), that might be the way to reach the broadest audience.

  27. As to Hollywood perverting the book’s pro-capitalism message, either on purpose or through sheer incompetence, both of those are hazards. However, apparently some of the folks who have the rights to the book and in working on getting it developed seem to take Rand’s ideas seriously and have a genuine desire to be faithful to the book’s animating ideas. That’s not to say they’ll be successful or that everyone will agree with their approach.

    Below are a couple of links that give some detail of the book’s slow, tortuous road to development – and really, there’s no guarantee this thing will make it to the screen. IMDB is now saying 2011 and back in 2007 someone was hoping to start production in 2008…so…

    BTW, I’m also in the mini-series, not movie camp or trilogy camp. But, that doesn’t seem to be the thinking of the current producers.

  28. I’ve seen the Italian movie of “we the living” that Scott mentioned (this book, IMNSHO, was better as literature than her later works) and thought it was very well done.

  29. I agree with most of Just Ken’s ideas: Downey as Ancona, Portman as Dagny, etc. But I know too much about Brad Pitt for him to be an effective Galt. My idea would be the guy from The Mentalist, Simon Baker. Pretty, but a blank slate.

    How about ‘updating’ the pirate with a handsome African-American actor?

  30. Another of her books, The Fountainhead, was made into a movie – staring Gary Cooper and Patricia Neal.

    Real actors, with real talent….

    I’ll look for We the Living.

    How about updating with Will Smith as John Galt? Cuba Gooding Jr?

  31. Well, if we’re going whole cloth with bloggers for characters, there is only one person for Dagny. The estimable Megan McCardle. Tall, angular and beautiful.

  32. Lex, what other authors you read in what you call “Russian polemic fiction”?
    How many? What novels? What exactly you know about Russian literature, whom did you read except Tolstoy (one novel) – or is that him you call “didactic”?

    Your hostility and bias towards ex-Soviets is showing again. As I was just saying. No differentiation between objectivist and collectivists, pro-capitalist and her enemies; they are all the same, aren’t they? Boo-hiss. Let’s kick them, they can’t answer anyway. That’s a man who was just rhapsodizing about respect to the dead at the funeral!

    Rand was writing in the manner characteristic of her time. Not only in literature – in architecture and fine arts, it was the same style. Not specifically Russian – more “international modernist”. Which appropriated various national tendencies, including avantgarde from Russia and German expressionism, and American school in Paris, and so on. Not all writers of that period survived the time; hers was a modest literary talent. I don’t think she aspired to become a Great Writer; fiction is just the most convenient and efficient way to disseminate ideas – and she was proven correct. How many people read today, say, Joyce or Dos Passos – and how many – Rand?

  33. Webrider: you mean M. McArdle? I agree; to your characteristic I’ll add she’s smart without applying that fake-modesty/hillbilly shtick that is so prevalent in conservative women-bloggers.

  34. Tatyana, yes. My bad, I didn’t think it looked quite right but was in a hurry and didn’t take a moment to look it up. I love her writing on things economic. Not only lucid and to the point, she always makes it interesting too.

  35. Wow, it took a long time for Banderas to get mentioned for D’Anconia. I’m surprised. He was the first I thought of.

    I’d love to see them squeeze Sigourney Weaver into the Dagny role, if it’s not too late. She really does have the look down better than anyone else I think.

    Nathan Fillion would be a brilliant John Galt I think, and presumably would be sympathetic to the character.

    Shia could be Eddie one the one hand, or maybe Paul Giamatti to go in a different direction. (Giamatti would also make a good James Taggart.)

    Daniel Craig would be a good Ragnar; there are a lot of folks who could do a good Ragnar, really.

    How about Rainn Wilson as Wesley Mouch?

  36. As to Hollywood perverting the book’s pro-capitalism message, either on purpose or through sheer incompetence, both of those are hazards.

    An extremely likely hazard, even if the current folks working on it aren’t in the Paul Verhoeven mold of mainstream Hollywood sonofabitches. His vandalization of Starship Troopers is the epitome of what Hollywood can and will do to dissenting material from politico-philosophical motives.

    The feelings of Miss Rand’s followers are of zero interest to me.

    That stupid little dig at the end of the post notwithstanding.

  37. Recently finished the book and my mind’s eye clearly cast one character: Aaron Eckhart (Thank You For Smoking, The Dark Knight) as Hank Reardon.
    Other suggestions:
    Dagny: I like the idea of Natalie Portman
    Francisco: Tough one. John Leguizamo?
    James Taggart: Jack Black
    Wesley Mouch: Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Mr. Thompson: Dustin Hoffman
    Ragnar: Whoever said Daniel Craig hit the nail on the head
    Wet Nurse: Neil Patrick Harris
    Dr. Ferris: Ben Stiller
    Midas Mulligan: Harrison Ford
    Ellis Wyatt: Patrick Dempsey
    Hugh Akston: LOVE the Morgan Freeman idea
    John Galt: Must have a distinctive voice to pull off the monologue. Will Smith.

    Unfortunately, there’s not enough money in the world to bankroll a film with THIS much juice, but fun nonetheless.

  38. Took the wife to dinner. I’m back now.

    I have to disagree with you, Tatyana. Rand’s purpose in writing her fiction was not didactic or polemical. When she wanted to be didactic or polemical, she wrote non-fiction–thousands of pages of it. Let me quote her at length (from “The Goal of My Writing” in The Romantic Manifesto):

    “The motive and purpose of my writing is the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal of a moral ideal, as my literary goal, as an end in itself–to which any didactic, intellectual or philosophical values in a novel are only the means.

    “Let me stress this: my purpose is not the philosophical enlightenment of my readers, it is not the beneficial influence which my novels may have on people, it is not the fact that my novels may help a reader’s intellectual development. All these matters are important, but they are secondary considerations, they are merely consequences and effects, not first causes or prime movers. My purpose, first cause and prime mover is the portrayal of Howard Roark or John Galt or Hank Reardon or Francisco d’Anconia as an end in himself–not as a means to any further end. Which, incidentally, is the greatest value I could ever offer a reader.

    “This is why I feel a very mixed emotion–part patience, part amusement and, at times, an empty kind of weariness–when I am asked whether I am primarily a novelist or a philosopher (as if those two were antonyms), whether my stories are propaganda vehicles for ideas, whether politics or the advocacy of capitalism is my chief purpose. All such questions are so enormously irrelevant, so far beside the point, so much not my way of coming at things.

    “My way is much simpler and, simultaneously, much more complex than that, speaking from two different aspects. The simple truth is that I approach literature as a child does: I write–and read–for the sake of the story. The complexity lies in the task of translating that attitude into adult terms.”

    To paraphrase her statement in another article, “I did not become a novelist in order to spread my philosophy. I became a philosopher in order to write my novels.”

    Rand thought of herself as part of the Romantic tradition of the 19th century. In fact, she called her esthetics “Romantic Realism”. Again, let me quote her at length (from “What is Romanticism?”):

    “Among novelists, the greatest are Victor Hugo and Dostoevsky, and, as single novels (whose authors were not always consistent in the rest of their works), I would name Henryk Sienkiewicz’s Quo Vadis and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. Among playwrights, the greatest are Fredrich Schiller and Edmond Rostand.

    “The distinguishing characteristic of this top rank (apart from their pure literary genius) is their full commitment to the premise of volition in both of its fundamental areas: in regard to consciousness and to existence, in regard to man’s character and to his actions in the physical world. Maintaining a perfect integration of these two aspects, unmatched in the brilliant ingenuity of their plot structures, these writers are enormously concerned with man’s soul (i.e., his consciousness). They are moralists in the most profound sense of the word; their concern is not merely with values, but specifically with moral values and with the power of moral values in shaping human character.”

    She certainly belongs among that “top rank”.

  39. Big Blue:

    LOVE that cast! I think you’ve really nailed the casting of the villains. Tickets would probably cost $500 just to pay for the cast, but I’d go see it.

  40. Big Blue:

    Minor addendum. I would put Dustin Hoffman as Dr. Robert Stadler instead of Mr. Thompson.

  41. I see no way possible to “shrink” Atlas Shrugged down to movie length and have anything close to the impact of the book. It would only appeal to those that have already read the book and they would walk out of the theaters terribly disappointed. The characters would end up being only cardboard cut-outs.

    It would take a 8 hr TV mini-series similar in length to “The Thorn Birds” or “Roots” to do it any justice.

  42. Scott,
    I have to disagree with you, Tatyana. Rand’s purpose in writing her fiction was not didactic or polemical.
    It wasn’t me who used these words in this conversation. You should readdress your disagreement.

    As to Rand being in the ranks of Hugo and Rostand…I’m glad you think so. I wouldn’t say that. It’s one thing for a writer to aspire to grand examples and another – to achieve that goal. I’m sure some of the writers of 30s and 50s would list many of the Great Realists of the 19th cent as their patron saints (those same saints have their own, earlier), and some would go as far back as Homer and Japanese court poetry. But what appeared at the tip of their own pen had marks and signs of their own time. This is not only normal, not only something to expect – it’s something to look forward to, if a reader wants to get a taste of times past. Literature is organic process, not a fossil.
    Personally, I enjoy Rand’s writing style. It talks to me through form as well as content, it’s a synthetic experience. But many people’s find her difficult to digest as a writer -she requires concentration and certain type of temperament to click. She doesn’t entertain, she has no mercy, she’s not sentimental.

    Well, look at the time. Sorry to verve way off the topic of this post. Gotta go now.

  43. Dagny: Jessica Steen who played the doctor in Earth 2

    First time I read the book I pictured her as Dagny. I didn’t even know her name, had to look it up.

  44. Dagny – Cate Blanchett – surprised no one has mentioned her, she’s exactly what I pictured
    Francisco – Johnny Depp
    John Galt – Christian Bale
    Rearden – Kiefer Sutherland

  45. I vote for William H. Macy as Hank Rearden. He does that persistence-despite-being-world-weary thing so well.
    Dagny Taggart: Jill Hennessey or Morena Baccarin.
    Rearden’s effete, useless adult son: Hank Azaria
    Ragnar Danneskjold: Nathan Fillion (I second Snodghag)
    And I also second Christian Bale as John Galt. He’s already played Jesus, so he has the necessary experience. [ducks]

  46. I think the cast from “Lancelot Link” is in need of work and let’s face it, a little bit of humor goes a lot farther than just more hollywood stereotyping.

  47. To cast the major characters should not be all that difficult. What’s required is tall, good-looking, manly-men; actresses that can pull off various scenes from good 1960s dramas… but mostly: a director who possesses a singular excellence and ability to capture Atlas Shrugged for the screen. The director must resist temptation to cut details, change story, etc. Go against the grain and make a 14-hour epic, that’s released on on-demand only.

  48. Your comment that you benefitted from Ayn Rand’s writings is encouraging. However, the last part of your comment–that you did not become a “Randian”–suggests that you think she founded some sort of cult, which is anything but true. Objectivists stress again and again that any positive influence which Ayn Rand has on anyone is good. They encourage rational, individualist thought. There is nothing dogmatic about the philosophy. Of course, no real Objectivist swallows any sort of altruist/collectivist emotionalism.

  49. “The director must resist temptation to cut details, change story, etc. Go against the grain and make a 14-hour epic, that’s released on on-demand only.”

    You think 14 hours would be enough?

    Heck, Galt’s speech alone …

  50. James Wood as James Taggart.

    Peewee Herman as Wesley Mouch.

    Kevin Spacey as Simon Pritchett

    Alan Alda as Mr. Thompson

    Dustin Hoffman as Bertram Scudder

    Meryl Streep as Lillian Rearden

    John Goodman as Orren Boyle

  51. Lexington Green wrote: “It is a philosophy which I neither practice nor believe in, though I suppose it is theoretically possible to do so with out being a Randian.”

    I wonder why you neither practice nor believe in Objectivism, despite the fact that you obviously have some respect for it on some level? What is it about Objectivism that you believe is untrue? Just curious.

  52. “I wonder why you neither practice nor believe in Objectivism, despite the fact that you obviously have some respect for it on some level? What is it about Objectivism that you believe is untrue? Just curious.”


    Try substituting other words for “Objectivism” here.

    I wonder why you neither practice nor believe in Christianity, despite the fact that you obviously have some respect for it on some level.

    I wonder why you neither practice nor believe in vegetarianism, despite the fact that you obviously have some respect for it on some level.

    I wonder why you neither practice nor believe in anarchy, despite the fact that you obviously have some respect for it on some level.

    People have complex motives for the belief systems they throw themselves into. One of the things I’ve gleaned about Rand herself, from the writings of people who knew her, was that she evidently felt entitled to grill other people on their belief systems and then pass judgment on them. Not attractive.

  53. “People have complex motives for the belief systems they throw themselves into. One of the things I’ve gleaned about Rand herself, from the writings of people who knew her, was that she evidently felt entitled to grill other people on their belief systems and then pass judgment on them. Not attractive.”

    I think Lexington Green is more than capable of answering my question. It was intended and asked in a purely friendly and reasonable manner. The lady doth protest too much.

  54. I rather liked Laura’s response, Peter. But I will take your word for it that you are asking in a friendly rather than ideologically puritanical fashion.

    I read Atlas Shrugged and liked it as a teenager, aged 14 or so. I read New Intellectual and Capitalism the Unknown Ideal which my mother also had in the house, and I thought much less of them. I know, and knew, history pretty well. Ayn Rand is not much of a historian and does not understand the historical roots of freedom and capitalism nearly so well as, for example, Hayek. The artistic power of her work was due to her ability to put across powerfully some very important things about freedom, creativity and the evil of enforced collectivism. All good stuff. When she tried to systematize it, she lost me. I found the polemical stuff unconvincing, like the bad parts of Atlas, without the good stuff. Other people do a better job on the plane of social science and history. As to philosophy, to the extent I looked at hers, I did not find it engaging. Others can discuss its merits. It had no interest for me or impact on me. I also found I did not much care for the Randians I met — I use the word in the sense indicated above, to mean an appearance of cultlike and fanatical devotion — Sorry, I see something, and I report it how I see it — and her fan base probably did as much to undercut her message as they did to promote it. In particular,she and they retarded the development of a politically effective libertarianism by believing themselves to be above and beyond politics. That is a serious and destructive error.

    Few people could have written an ideological atom bomb like Atlas, which for all its defects, is a force for good and can be a positive life-changer for people. That is enough of an achievement for anybody, without pretending to be the greatest mind since Aristotle.

    There are lots of other writers who fill in lots of other things worth knowing.

    Anywyay, no doubt the foregoing may arouse some ire. But I am done with this thread.

    I like the many suggestions for a “fantasy cast” for Atlas.

    I like Diane Lane for Dagny. Not what Dagny looked like in the book, and a little old for the role, but she could do it.

    Christian Bale could be John Galt.

    Johnny Depp as Francisco is intriguing. He could do it, actually. He is really a brilliant actor. If he put himself into the role, he’d be great.

    I do hope they make the movie. It will disappoint the book’s ardent fans, but done well, it could have a positive impact.

  55. As I said, the question was asked innocently and politely enough.

    Thanks for your response.

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