Atlas Shrugged Movie: Jolie/Pitt as Dagny/Galt

Atlas Shrugged movieRumor has it that Atlas Shrugged is once again making buzz in Hollywood as a film version of the 1957 book by Ayn Rand is supposed to be in the works with some superstar casting (thanks Help Me Impeach Bush!):

The new producers are Ray’s Howard and Karen Baldwin, who got the rights in 2003 and originally planned to split the story into two films. “What we’ve always needed was a studio that had the same passion for this project that we and John have,” Baldwin tells Variety. Fast-forward to today and Lionsgate has agreed to come aboard and fund the tale — but only as a single pic.

Enter Jolie and Pitt, who are both fans of Rand’s work. They’re considering the two main roles of Dagny Taggart and John Galt. If they agree to work for less money upfront, the movie may finally see the inside of a cinema.

OK, back the fuck up… Are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt libertarians? Or am I totally reading too much into that? And what’s with taking less money in order to make a film that trumpets capitalism? How… bizarre.

But seriously, I am really psyched about seeing this film finally get made, and I applaud Brangelina (sorry, I’m only using that term for the throngs of idiots who buy into it as a search term) for being the first to step up to the plate to play the lead roles.

As a casting question, who would you choose to play the other characters in the book? My hot list is Francisco d’Anconia played by Antonio Banderas and Ragnar Danneskjold played by Michael Douglas in character from Falling Down.

Update: VodkaPundit puts out a great casting call.

45 Comments
  1. My suggestions:

    Lillian Rearden – Anjelica Huston.
    Hank Rearden – Harrison Ford.

    Betty Pope — the part was MADE for Paris Hilton.

  2. I always pictured Jodie Foster as Dagny. Harrison Ford is right on the money for Hank. I’m just trying not to picture Brad Pitt performing Galts monologues like his 12 Monkeys performance.

  3. Here’s a quote from Jolie:

    “What am I reading? I’ve been very into Ayn Rand, so I’ve read “The Fountainhead” and then “Atlas Shrugged.” I just think she has a very interesting philosophy. You re-evaluate your own life and what’s important to you.”

    I found that here, as well as a long debate about who should play whom.

  4. Ragnar – Must be scandinavian as the name suggests. I suggest Peter Stormare (Fargo, recently Prison Break and those stupid VW commercials). In character from Fargo perhaps.

    Since John, Ragnar and Fransisco were in University together, we can’t really have them 30 years apart.

  5. I hope they chop the hell out of Galt’s monologue, though. Either that or I’ll bring an alarm clock and catch up on my sleep a bit.

  6. Taking less money is not a compromise when that’s what it takes to get the thing made, and you value getting the movie made ahead of making a few extra million.

  7. not to mention “less upfront” money can be more backend ( and stars can get that off the GROSS), which means More money if you believe the thing will sell tickets and DVD(if your deal includes that).

  8. This story says that the producers are those of “Ray”, and the screenwriter is that of the movie “Contact” (2 pretty good films), and the film will be under the “LionsGate” banner, with a budget under $30 million.

    This story says that Oliver Stone has been attached to direct a remake of “The Fountainhead” and Pitt has expressed interest in the role of Roark.

    Out of all the rumors I’ve heard over the years, this one seems the most promising… Of course, a movie on this grandiose a scale, even if filming started tomorrow, could be years away.

    On another note, Jolie and Pitt both seemed to like Rand’s work before they got together. Could that have played a part in their getting together in the way they did? Maybe Pitt & Jolie decided to emulate Rand’s marital/romantic life as well?

  9. Having stars “attached” is how movies get greenlit. It just means you need a star with enough market value that the studio expects to make enough money to justify the investment regardless of whether the film is popular on its own merits. These two certainly qualify.
    Nobody knows what will be a hit in advance, so if the stars cut their fees, invest their market value and assume some risk, they’re hoping to make money on the back-end.
    What’s encouraging is that they’re not doing so in order to do a film in Hawaii, or to work with a certain director, but because they like the book. That means if the movie doesn’t happen, they didn’t like the script–a good thing, because the studio would film it anyway.
    “Hollywood” is full of libertarians who don’t know what they are: misfits from all over the world who came here to be free to express themselves and who must cooperate with accountants, investors, teamsters, and grips, and vice versa. Capitalism, tolerance and cooperation rule!

  10. Sweet! I’m also glad I wasn’t the only one who skipped most of Galt’s monologue…I need to reread those books. Seventh grade was a while ago.

  11. Stephen: “I hope they chop the hell out of Galt’s monologue, though. Either that or I’ll bring an alarm clock and catch up on my sleep a bit.”

    Haha, when I heard that the movie was originally planned as two movies, my first thought was “one movie being most of the book, the second movie being Galt’s speech.” Both of them would probably be about equal length.

    I didn’t like Atlas Shrugged nearly as much as The Fountainhead, but I would definitely see this.

  12. Ragnar’s gotta be Val Kilmer
    Always thought Mel Gibson would be a good Ellis.
    When I first read the book, I pictured Francisco looking like Joaquim de Almeida, but I think that he’s too old now. Banderas? I don’t think so. He lacks gravitas.
    Can’t say I totally buy the Pitt/Jolie casting either.
    Ford is too old to be Hank, though I agree he’s got the right kind of demeanor.

  13. Here’s my (starting) ideal cast for Atlas Shrugged:

    John Galt – Brad Pitt
    Dagny Taggart – Angolina Jolie
    Hank Reardon – Harrison Ford
    Ragnar – Val Kilmer
    Francisco d’Aconia – Antonio Bandearas
    Eddie Willers – Keifer Sutherland
    Lillian Reardon – Majel Barrett (Roxana Troy from Star Trek TNG)
    Peter Keating – Michael C. Hall (from Six Feet Under)
    James Taggart – Michael Ironside
    The President – Ronny Cox

  14. Oopos… Peter Keating is from “The Fountainhead”. Those two books are all mixed together in my head. :)

  15. Now that I think about it, I think Dagny would be better played by Natalie Portman. Angelina Jolie would be better as Dominique Francon from “The Fountainhead” – she’s more bitchier and prone to violent outbursts like Dominique is in the book.

    So who do you think would win in a no holds barred, untimed caged oil wrestling match: Dagny Taggart or Dominique Francon? How about John Galt vs. Howard Roark?

  16. I wonder if the whole Roark/Fountainhead thing is related to Pitt’s interest/obsession with architecture.

  17. Given how Hollywood can botch up adaptations, perhaps it’s better this stops now. Look at Gibson’s Passion: he stuck to the original text word for word and still got the essentials screwed up. If it’s Hollywood, they’ll probably rewrite the ending, turn Galt into the Homeland Security czar, and show government saving everyone’s day.

    I read AS in high school. One of the few novels that is wordier, talkier and less interesting in action is the Mysteries of Udolpho. So a good movie IMO would require a total rewrite that would probably destroy the message Rand meant to illustrate with the book.

    And for Francisco, how about Andy Garcia.

  18. Leroy is right about Dagny. Ms. Portman for that. Angelina Jolie is too old for either Dagny or Dominique. Long ago she would have been great for either role.

    The characters are supposed to be youngsters.

    Johnny Depp or Brad Pitt both are too old now. It’s gotta be some young Johnny Depp for Ragnar. Some new Brad Pitt for John Galt.

  19. “I read AS in high school.”
    jeff, is that “during” high school or “for” high school? Which school? :-)

  20. As a Rand advocate I was tickled to hear the news. I’ve always liked Harrison Ford as Hank Rearden as someone else suggested.

    As far as Galt’s speech, I’m sure it will be cut down. Rand demanded that all of Roark’s speech would be in The Fountainhead production, but that was only 5 pages IIRC.

    This is good news. Objectivists and non-Objectivists alike will enjoy it. Also, nice to see Ayn on the Drudge Report.

  21. I’ve got less hope for this movie than I do the transformers movie. I can see it now:

    “It’s like Sky Captain & the World of Tomorrow but with a political edge!”

    Anyway, my pick for Galt has always been Denzel Washington. Think about it.

  22. I like Jodie Foster for Dagny

    I like to think about who could play Wesley Mooch — maybe Danny Devito
    and for the wet nurse I like Owen Wilson

    My favorite is Hank Rearden – how about Kurt Russell or Michael Douglas?

    For John Galt I would like to see Keanu

    Angelina is too involved in the United Nations to be a libertarian. I wonder why she likes Rand?

  23. Weird… I was also thinking Harrison Ford as Hank Reardon. They should totally cast Chewbacca as his government compliance employee, that would be so rad.

  24. I’ve seen Harrison Ford and Jodie Fosters name thrown about here a bit. You really think they would buy into a project about capitalism? I’ve always thought they were pinkos.

  25. d’Anconia: Benicio del Toro

    Reardon: Matthew Fox

    Wesley Mouch: Phillip Seymour Hoffman (probably too small a role for his stature)

    Just find a role for John Mahkovich

  26. I agree on the Benicio del Toro

    How about Uma Thurman for Dagny. Christian Slater for Hank Reardon.

  27. I don’t know of pitt and jolie are objectivist, or libertarian, but as far as hollywood goes they seem to lean more that way than most. They also seem to lean more towards individualism than most, so I have high hopes.

    It is kind of odd seeing the “less money up front” clause on a capitalistic film, however I would do the same. If you want to see a film get made, and it’s not going to unless you can tighten your belt, you’d do it. Rational self interest doesn’t only involve money! Think of Roark, he charged as he could for his work, he wanted his value for it, but at the same time he valued the ability to do the work just as much as being paid for it.

  28. I will not go to see this if Brangelina is in it. Jody Foster yes. Christian Bale yes. Brangelina? How absurd, I don’t care what they’re currently reading or what politics they currently into, they’re all wrong for the parts.

  29. I’ll be surprised if the movie is ever made. I could see Brangelina for the leading roles though, I liked Pitt in fight club and Angelina just rocks. Plus the movie needs the star power. I always pictured Jody Foster, but Angie would do.

    I can’t see Keifer as Eddie Willers. Maybe Toby McGuire. Ford as Hank most certainly.

  30. I don’t like the Pitt/Jolie thing, either, but I have a hard time thinking of anyone who could adequately play those characters. For others:
    Hank Rearden — Linus Roache
    Ragnar Danneskjold — Thomas Kretschmann
    Francisco D’Anconia — del Toro or Andy Garcia, who has more of the slick, cultured playboy feel than del Toro (c.f: Ocean’s Eleven)
    Eddie Willers — John Cusack
    Philip Seymour Hoffman would be good as Mouch, but he’d probably be even better as Jim Taggart.

  31. I just began reading Atlas Shrugged yesterday and I must say I enjoy it so, so much.

    I just read the introduction of Betty Pope and guess who came to mind: Paris Hilton.

    I doubt anyone would want to link her to such a film, but she just fits the description to a T.

    I think Harrison Ford would be a good Rearden… Though a bit old, he seems to fit his image quite well. For d’Anconia, I would prefer Banderas or Garcia. Del Toro is too rough around the edges to be a playboy. If not them, the casting director could go into Latin America and Spain to play d’Anconia. That, in my opinion, would make it more believable and much, much more enjoyable.

    What about Kevin Spacey as Ellis Wyatt, Orren Boyle, or Eddie Willers?

    Just suggestions from a current reader of Atlas Shrugged.

    Another suggestion for d’Anconia: Guy Ecker. [Look him up on Google Images.] He seems like a playboy, and he already came out on a whole season of an American TV show (“Las Vegas”).

    Just suggesting.