Producer John Aglialoro obtained the rights to Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged 18 years ago. Several attempts to move forward with the film failed. In April 2010, he called Harmon Kaslow and told him he had three months to start filming or the rights world revert to Ayn Rand’s literary estate. By June, the two of them had gone into production with director Paul Johansson (The Incredible Mrs. Ritchie) and a script by Brian O’Toole (Cemetery Gates).
Eighteen years is a long time to wait to produce a film. I sympathize with Mr. Aglialoro, but I’ve been waiting 40 years to watch this film. I read Atlas Shrugged while I was in high school and it changed me forever.
Atlas Shrugged Part 1 opens April 15, 2011, staring Taylor Schilling (Nurse Veronica Flanagan on Mercy) as Dagny Taggart and Grant Bowler (True Blood, Ugly Betty) as Henry Rearden. It begins in 2016, in an America literally falling to pieces, broken by terrorism and dominated by exploitative politicians, crooked labor unions and crony capitalists. Making the situation worse, entrepreneurs, talented executives, artists, scientists and other innovators are mysteriously disappearing.
Within this dystopian world, Dagny Taggart tries to save her father’s railroad, now run by her and her conniving sycophantic brother, who has let the rails fall into disrepair. Her struggle brings her into contact with industrialist Henry Rearden who has developed a “super steel,” Rearden Metal, just the stuff to rebuild her railroad. Together they struggle against leftists thugs, collectivist bureaucrats, and dishonest intellectuals who try to steal what they produce and interfere with their plans. And all the while, people keep disappearing.
I know what you’re thinking. That doesn’t sound like some dystopian future, it sounds like Wisconsin. No, really, it’s the future.