I’ll say this for Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, the experience of reading it isn’t nearly as repugnant as the further writing and philosophizing it inspired (I can hear Devin howling above the stripper-music din of Jumbo’s Clown Room as I type this). Bereft of its additional, objectivist baggage, it’s just a crushing bore, a masterpiece of thematic overstatement. It’s kind of like reading an Oliver Stone movie for a month; the rush of ideas can be exhilarating at times, but you feel completely bludgeoned by the end. There’s scarcely any room for personal interpretation.
This is why I think Lionsgate and Angelina Jolie, who’s developed the project for years, have found the perfect director in Vadim Perelman. While I hate to lambaste the guy when he has a new movie debuting at Toronto in a few weeks that I’ve yet to see (In Bloom), his wrongheadedly literal adaptation of Andre Dubus III’s The House of Sand and Fog suggests that he’s just the guy to make a garish, tone-deaf, memorably unintentional comedy out of Rand’s already unfilmable novel. Perelman will collaborate with screenwriter Randall Wallace, whose light touch is evident in his best work: Braveheart, We Were Soldiers and Pearl Harbor. Okay, I’m being glib. He wrote for and executive produced Sonny Spoon. Society is in his debt.
There’s nothing in Michael Fleming’s Variety story about Brad Pitt playing John Galt, which, to my mind, is a must if they want a reasonable budget for this film. One’s she’s completed Clint Eastwood’s The Changeling, Pitt’s master will topline as the railroad scion, Dagny Taggart. Judge Reinhold will reprise his role as Detective Billy Rosewood.