Most Dallas/Ft. Worth area libertarians, Objectivists and Ayn Rand fans know that the movies Atlas Shrugged Part I, II and III made brief appearances in North Texas theaters in the past three years. “At the box office, however,” a recent New York Times article noted, “the pictures made barely a blip.” Now, maybe, Atlas will be Shrugging Again.
Imagine a modernized romanticized version of Atlas in which John Galt is a technology entrepreneur and investor like Amazon founder Jeff Bezos rather than an automotive engineer who threatens to “stop the motor of the world” by shutting down Facebook and iPhones even as the story focuses on his torrid love affair with commercial spaceliner executive Dagny Taggart.
Then imagine watching it all unfold for six to eight-hours on your HD flat screen surround sound home theatre cable system or livestreamed on your wifi smart device (assuming Galt hasn’t already stopped all digital electronics, the true motor of the modern world).
That’s what Albert S. Ruddy, movie and TV producer of such joltingly dissimilar entertainments as “Hogan’s Heroes,” “The Godfather” and “The Cannonball Run,” says he wants to do. The reason the recent three-part independently filmed theatrical Atlas Shrugged movies based on “Ayn Rand’s Objectivist bible” failed, he contends, is because their producer, John Aglialoro, “shot the book, not the movie.”
In short, a book is a book and a film is a film and simply moving from one medium to another doesn’t work. A painting of a dancer, no matter how brilliantly executed, isn’t the same as a dancer actually dancing. Ruddy, says the article, “sees his rendition as a love story, built squarely around its commanding female protagonist, Dagny Taggart.”
To be a successful movie – or “a world-ranging Netflix-type streaming service” as Ruddy envisions it – would require a powerful world class “Ultimate Ideal Actress” who could pull off her dual role as an imposing business mogul and as the equal to Ayn Rand’s “Ultimate Ideal Man.” And that, of course, means finding the “Ultimate Ideal Actor” to play John Galt.
Further, to be a successful vehicle for the libertarian movement – for which libertarians yearn – the entire project would have to capture the imagination of today’s young adult generation with strongly motivated, successful, imposing, uncompromising yet compassionate and sensitive characters who embody the nonaggression principle while clearly contrasting them with contemporary power-seeking sociopaths in and out of government. All without being preachy.
That was an incredibly tall order for Ayn Rand’s written masterpiece which many people never did and still don’t get. But with today’s deep disaffection with crony corporatists, politically connected banksters and a seemingly endless mass of lemming-like politicians relentlessly grabbing ever more of our wealth, our rights and our freedoms this just might be that tipping point in history where one difference-maker can shift the momentum forever.
The Atlas of Greek mythology, as all of us, must first shrug off his despotically-imposed baggage – supporting the entire world – before he and we can find our own peace.