Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? is the final film in the trilogy adaptation of Ayn Rand’s iconic libertarian novel Atlas Shrugged, which shaped a generation and was the basis of Alan Greenspan’s hands-off governing philosophy for the U.S. economy — which he admitted to when questioned by Congress. The path of this both beloved and reviled novel into Hollywood has been fraught with stops and starts over its 36-year journey to completion (30 years longer than it took Rand to write it). It was broken into a trilogy — two parts of which have previously bombed at the box office. Atlas Shrugged is Rand’s fourth and last book and definitely her magnum opus. When it first debuted in 1957, Rand’s controversial book stayed on the New York Times bestseller’s list for 22 weeks. It is still considered a must-read in conservative and libertarian circles and a favorite of corporate tycoons.
After failures of the first two installments, rights owner/producer John Agioloro put his full support behind commercials director Jim Manera for doing a complete overhaul. The director said he concentrated on making the story commercial for 2014 audiences — it will be set in 2020. The third installment, according to Manera, is “a very different motion picture than the first two. You can’t even compare them.” The third one, at least, has a recognizable name in Rob Morrow as metal magnate Hank Rearden. It also stars Kristoffer Polaha as Galt, Laura Regan (Mad Men) as Dagny Taggart, Joaquim de Almeida as her lifelong friend Francisco d’Anconia, and Eric Allan Kramer as pirate Ragnar Danneskjöld. Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow, who produced the first two films, are producing again.
The first two films, both of which went through various incarnations, never lived up to their expectations. “There is a level of actor talent that you must have to be able to pull this off,” said Manera. “The cast on this one will exceed viewer expectations.” Dave Mason, who was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of the 1970s legendary band Traffic, will be involved in the music for the film, which just wrapped Friday after only 17 days of shooting. It will bow in September; Aglialoro set up Atlas Distribution Company to handle the film’s distribution deals.
The story follows railroad executive Dagny Taggart as she navigates her way through an inefficient economical culture. The book endorses free enterprise with no federal regulation, and the dystopian tale ultimately sees the great minds of industry shutting down their factories and disappearing to join a “strike” led by John Galt. In the novel, Rand challenges altruism and moral obligation and boldly celebrates reason, capitalism and individualism. The 1,200-page tome, according to Manera, “is a cry out for freedom from the shackles of inefficiency.”
The last part of the novel has been considered the hardest to adapt and film as it contains a 60-plus page speech by Galt. So how do you make the third act into a movie?