Sunday, November 11, 2007

Atlas Shrugged -- The Movie

This year I finally read the classic "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. I had the hardback edition, so its over-1000-pages occasionally whacked me in the face when I nodded off reading in bed. I recommend the paperback.

Anyway, after reading it, my friend Tara and I had a discussion about who we thought could play Dagny Taggart in a movie. I remember reading in "Hollywood Animal" that years back, when the idea of a movie was being tossed around, Sharon Stone thought she'd be PERFECT for the role (this was right after her "Basic Instinct" success). I'm laughing, as I hope you are, at the thought of Sharon Stone playing that role. I mean, Dagny is a strong, charismatic, smart woman who single-handedly runs a railroad. Give me a break.

So, I was reading a magazine and saw that Angelina Jolie is scheduled to play Dagny.

OK. Let me think about that for a minute.

I think I could see it -- I loved Angelina in "Girl, Interrupted" (one of the few times I liked the movie better than the book), and ok, I can definitely deal with Angelina Jolie rather than Sharon Stone.

But it makes me wonder about what would have happened had the movie been cast soon after it was written. Tara and I were tossing around people like Katharine Hepburn for the role. The men were far easier for us to cast with modern actors -- but we were at a loss for a good modern actress.

If you read the book, I'd love to know what you think!


  1. Anonymous12:29 AM

    Mmm, I'm not so sure about Angelina in that role. She has the right voice, but I feel confident that Dagney would never have an eating disorder. Ang needs to put on some pounds first.

    - Jen

  2. Anonymous12:23 PM

    I so have to read the book now. If I am described publicly as having an opinion on who should play Dagney in a movie!
    After I've read the book I'll see if I can't come up with a modern-day actress that I feel is fitting!

    I love Jen's opinion that Angelina needs to gain some weight first. I get so annoyed that the majority of Hollywood's actresses are so disturbingly thin and modified by plastic surgery... Whatever happened to classic beauty?


  3. I agree with you both about the weight issue. There's thin, and then there's "oh my god, is she sick?" -- so many actresses are starting to look like bobble head dolls from starving themselves.

    That's one of the reasons I love Kelly Clarkson -- she's not skinny, and she is who she is, and she's gorgeous.

  4. Anonymous2:34 PM

    Tell me what you think about objectivism? I have been wanting to have a discussion with someone. She has been causing much thought for me lately, Ayn Rnad I mean.

  5. Well, this part from the Wiki definition resonates with me:

    "...that the proper moral purpose of one's life is the pursuit of one's own happiness or "rational self-interest"; that the only social system consistent with this morality is full respect for individual rights, embodied in pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism; and that the role of art in human life is to transform abstract knowledge, by selective reproduction of reality, into a physical form—a work of art—that one can comprehend and respond to with the whole of one's consciousness".

    Every time in "Atlas Shrugged", when one of the business owners who were innovative and making a profit got edged out, I felt like screaming.

  6. Hooey!
    Sharon Stone could have made a great Dagny. Likewise- Angelina could do it.

    It isn't about they look- it's about how they act. Who they are and what they do. And, of course say- which is really the writer's gig. How they say it is them.

    If Dagny is in her 30's- Jennifer Garner. Hilary Swank. Charlize Theron.

    There is a time and a place for "...pure, consensual laissez-faire capitalism..." but the problem is that you don't get the interstate highway system. Nor the Department of Defense. In fact, you'd get lead paint in products- the market might eventually destroy the lead paint product producers- but at what cost? (Meanwhile- everything is so so shiny) You don't get the FAA and the best commercial aviation system in the world. Instead you'd get big pharma putting drugs on the market that were profitable even if a "little" harmful. You get the exploding Pinto.

  7. I guess I just can't stand Sharon Stone, and after reading Esterhauz's book, had an even lower opinion of her.

    Someone mentioned Julia Roberts the other day, too.

    I get that it's about how they act, but I can't help but hate when a movie character is TOTALLY unlike what the book describes them as. Case in point, "The Bone Collector" -- Denzel Washington is a fabulous actor, but not at ALL what the book describes.

  8. Anonymous10:16 PM

    Glad you have read the book. As for Dagney Tagert, I really think of one woman, Andrea Parker. Andrea Parker would need to reprise a character "Miss Parker" from her early years on the TV series The Pretender. Ms. Parker was a tough as nails agent for a super secret government agency. If you can get the videos you will understand where I am coming from.

    As for why the film was not made in the late 50's early 60's it is very easy to understand. Ayn Rand was extremely hated, to the most extreme, by Hollywood and the Academic elites. Ayn was one of the key witnesses during the HUAC (House UnAmerican Commitee) hearings about the Communist infitration of Hollywood, as she was a Hollywod writter long before becoming a author. Many in Hollywood and Academia never forgave her of those transgretions.

    If you are looking for other Ayn Rand books, read Anthem. Anthem is much shorter and easier to read and understand.

    See ya,


I appreciate comments! Thank you for contributing to the conversation.