Atlas Shrugged: The Rematch

This is old news, but apparently, Al Ruddy, the producer of “The Godfather,” is planning to make a Netflix-type miniseries of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. This is what he has in mind:

Mr. Ruddy, who is working up an outline for a writer or writers yet to be named, sees his rendition as a love story, built squarely around its commanding female protagonist, Dagny Taggart. (Angelina Jolie was in line for an earlier, never-made version.)

The main thing, Mr. Ruddy said, is to honor Ms. Rand’s insistence on making a film for the future. That means redrawing its capitalists and creators, who go on strike against creeping collectivism, as figures more familiar than the railroad heiress and industrial titans who figured in a book that was first published in 1957.

“When you look at guys like Jeff Bezos, he’s not only doing Amazon, he wants to colonize Mars,” Mr. Ruddy said. He spoke by telephone last week of his plan for a mini-series in which an Internet blackout led by Bezos-like figures might shut down cellphones, banks and almost everything else.

As for concerns about faithful Rand fans objecting to any liberties he might take with the book, Mr. Ruddy said he had none.

“If you can reimagine the Old Testament and the New Testament,” he said, “why can’t I reimagine Ayn Rand?”

Yeah, that sounds really great–Jeff Bezos meets Angelina Jolie on Mars after the Internet goes down. Can’t wait.

I’ve already given my two cents on this topic: if you want to do Rand, aim for low but solid ground; forget Atlas Shrugged for now and make an updated film version of We the Living. Not that I expect any of these media moguls to take my advice.

Meanwhile, I think Inspector Wang captures my essential reaction to the “re-imagining” of Atlas Shrugged that Al Ruddy has in mind.

Apologies for the “cultural appropriation.”

One thought on “Atlas Shrugged: The Rematch

  1. Having had a day to sleep on this post, I now regard it as off-base, at least as a criticism of Ruddy’s project as described by the Times. Depending on what’s meant by “love story,” it isn’t that ridiculous to depict Atlas Shrugged as a love story (at some level it is a love story, whatever else it is) and modernizing the novel, or taking liberties with it, is probably an inevitability in any viable film version of it. Given my policy of not making substantive alterations to posts after the fact, it seems to me I can’t delete a post, either. So I’ll leave this one in place as a monument to my tendency to go off half-cocked when I see “Ayn Rand,” “movie,” “Atlas Shrugged,” “colonize,” and “Mars” all mentioned in the same place. (For explanation of this tendency, see here, here, and here.)

    That said, I stand by my prediction that I think the movie will suck or at least fail to do justice to the novel, and that it would make far more sense to try to do a film version of We the Living than Atlas Shrugged.


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