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Atlas Shrugged movie

2007-09-05 14:08:55.557416+00 by Dan Lyke 9 comments

Vadim Perelman to direct movie version of Atlas Shrugged:

Perelman will work from a draft of the script penned by "Braveheart" scribe Randall Wallace, who managed to boil down the Rand manifesto of 1,100-plus pages into a 127-page script. ...

I'm... uh... not optimistic.

[ related topics: Objectivism Movies ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 15:22:48.338279+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

I think John Galt's monologues in Atlas that would take two hours for an actor to deliver! Anthem would be a much better choice for a film. Atlas might make a nice mini-series - or better yet - a Soap Opera!

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 15:56:55.683313+00 by: ebradway [edit history]

Oh yeah - I was at a hot springs in the Arkansas Valley recently and the massage therapist was talking about Crestone, Colorado, where he lives. It's sort of the anti-Galt's Gulch. Maurice Strong, ex-UN Undersecretary, bought most of the land in the area and created the Manitou Institute and Manitou Foundation to give land-grants to various religious organizations. The result is a very small spiritually-focused community. It also has a surprisingly large number of alternative architecture homes including poured concrete domes.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 17:25:43.703155+00 by: Dan Lyke

The 127 page script was a clue, I believe that any ideas movie has to be about half again longer than that just out of the blocks. In fact, I'm pretty sure that any good movie has to be about 180 pages, but modern audiences don't go for talkies. So I predict lots of action sequences and big explosions.

What's the economy of the Crestone area? Is it largely tourism and trust-fund kids (the latter is what I associate with the strong spiritual movements out here in Marin County), or has a deeper economic base sprung up.

Interesting trivia: I think the dome you linked to is actually done with sprayed, not poured, concrete, though I'm not entirely sure.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 18:31:40.235337+00 by: petronius

So, how long does 180 pages come to? I guess I could saa AS as a mini-series, but if I remember correctly Galt's speech is about 50 pages long, which comes to about 45 minutes spoken, by radio announcers rule of thumb. of course, if they leave out one semicolon the objectivist Foundation will scream betrayal.

But here's the question: I can see Angelina as Dagney Taggert; but who plays Hank Rearden and John Galt? The movie of the Fountainhead in the 50s used Gary Cooper as Howard Roarke, bringing a great dignity to the role. But dignity is never Rand's strong suit.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 18:32:56.421399+00 by: ebradway

On Atlas: The Movie, I would expect a "sexy thriller with a strong moral message". The problem with movies, unless the dialog is thick, is that much of characterization is developed through the viewers perception - not dialog. Rand didn't like to leave any room for interpretation about her characters. It could be a good movie if they make it with mass appeal and accept that it falls short of the book.

I got to see Annie Proulx speak last Fall. She talked about The Shipping News and Brokeback Mountain as they were rendered as films. Her net experience was that short stories make better movies because, at worse, the script writer has to add content and it's impossible to filter a novel down to a script without leaving out something that'll piss off someone.

You're probably right about the dome. But there's quite a variety of domes in Crestone. It's also, I've been told, the straw-bale capital of the world.

The economy in Crestone, right now, is exclusively trust-fund kids and monks of various religious persuasion. It's far enough off the beaten path that there isn't a lot of tourism.

There is a booming alternative construction business. They had their tour of homes last weekend. One of the workshops related to the tour dealt with getting a mortgage for alt-construction.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 19:35:08.206272+00 by: Dan Lyke [edit history]

As I look deeper into various construction techniques I'm becoming more and more impressed by straw bale construction, especially in dryer climates (although I'm told that straw bale barns in Minnesota make it to 100+ years). I'm also impressed by living roofs, although I'm not sure how they fare in wetter or frozen climes.

For "how long is 180 pages", I don't think there's a hard and fast answer. My impression was that that's roughly the length of the Casablanca[Wiki] script, and that's only 102 minutes. The current publication of the script and commentary runs about 250 pages, and I have a raw Casablanca[Wiki] script somewhere around here, if I find it I'll count its pages.

According to this page, the original script that became Citizen Kane[Wiki] was 250 pages for a run time of 119 minutes.

However, modern audiences don't seem to like movies with lots of dialog, and modern directors don't like lots of stage direction in the script, so comparing a modern movie to the classics is tough. Nowadays you can probably squeeze a full two hours out of 120 minutespages. Which is why, as Eric points out, short stories make better movies, because the modern language of film and video just isn't as information dense as it used to be.

I think I remember when I took Robert McKee's story seminar that he said that treatments used to run 450 pages and get trimmed down to about 200 pages of script, nowadays treatments run 50 pages and become 120-180 pages of script.

And when I think of Ayn Rand I think of a screenwriter of the Casablanca[Wiki] era, which she was. I'm not sure that modern mainstream film even has the vocabulary to explore her ideas her way.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 19:49:15.036198+00 by: markd

Nowadays you can probably squeeze a full two hours out of 120 minutes.

No wonder time seems to be accelerating :-)

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 20:49:13.2847+00 by: Dan Lyke

Doh. Fixed.

#Comment Re: made: 2007-09-05 21:38:56.031277+00 by: ebradway

And if you look at Casablanca, you'll see events that occur over a very short period of time. So characters are relatively static but deep. Nowadays, folks want fairly shallow characters who undergo massive personal change. And people want to come out a movie feeling like they had an experience the equivalent of reading a novel. I think that's due to the fact that so many people just don't read anymore (and when they do, it's a Dan Brown page-turner that's basically a movie script formatted like a novel).