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I finally read the 1000+ pages (one of the longest novels written in English) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I had deferred reading Ayn Rand for a long period of time. The reason: I saw what it did to people. I didn't like what they had become and I didn't want to become like them. Of course, I presumed that people who have read Rand actually understood her. After reading the book, I realize that I had been wrong. Anyways, I will not be discussing her philosophy. Like a true INTJ, I ask myself – does it work for me without adhering to a philosophy? And the answer is: Yes. So, brush aside philosophy. Think movies.

Well, the plot of the book seemed very interesting to me and I was wondering why no one had thought of making a movie/TV series out of it. So, I wikied and found that Atlas Shrugged (the film) is actually in a development hell since 35 years. I believe that The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged will be best made as animation movies/series, like The Old Man and the Sea (the 20 minute film is a must watch – almost brings the book to life). Anyways, what if it was not made in an animation movie? Even as I was reading the book, I was imagining who could play the roles of some of the characters in the book. So, whom would I like to see playing its characters if Atlas Shrugged were to be made in a movie?

Dagny Taggart – The movie slated to release in 2009 is going to feature Angelina Jolie. I can't visualize her at all – the pouted lips are a big NO for me. I think I would like to see Carrie Ann Moss (remember Matrix) or Uma Thurman (Pulp Fiction, Kill Bill 1 & 2) in that role. I also thought of Julia Roberts and Rachel Weisz. But it is difficult to view Julia Roberts in such a serious role and Rachel Weisz somehow fits Lilian Rearden's character better. Also, Halle Barry – kind of shorter for the role though.

James Taggart – Actually the first name that comes to my mind is Abhishek Bachchan. The second name that comes to mind is Tim Robbins of The Shawshank Redemption fame.

Hank Rearden – The first time I read the description of this character – Russell Crowe was the name that came to mind. It seems that somehow Ayn Rand was imagining Russell Crowe when she wrote about this character. I know it's impossible, still.

Ragnar Danneskjöld РWell, if it has to be a pirate then no other than Johnny Depp. Yeah he may need a bit of dyeing his hair. But I think he would fit the character perfectly.

John Galt – Even before I read the description of this character, in Part 3 of the book, it seemed to me this character has to be an African-American – particularly Adrian Lester (Micky Bricks in Hustle – BBC TV Series). But the description won't fit. Next choice is Hugh Laurie (House MD, Stuart Little). But a bit too old for the character. Next, Hugh Jackman (X-Men, The Fountain). Apparently a fresh face is being (has been) sought to play this character in the movie. A certain Jamie Clay is being rumored but not much is known about him.

Franciso Domingo Carlos Andres Sebastian d'Anconia – I loved this character in the book. Apparently, Brad Pitt has been touted to play his role as per Wikipedia: though that would be the most singular aversion for me to watch the movie. I think Ayn Rand has developed this character very richly throughout the book, equally if not more than any other character, even Dagny or Galt for that matter. Keanu Reeves, Christian Bale come to mind, but somehow don't fit the bill. Maybe, I would like to see some fresh face in this character. John Abraham also came to mind – can't put my finger on why not – but not him too.

Orren Boyle – Marlon Brando was the first thought. Then I realized he is no more. Next, Danny DeVito – and might do justice to the role too. Again kind of short for the role, but I am kind of out of options in my brain here.

Dr Robert Stadlar – Robert Duvall fits the description, though he is kind of too old for the role. But I think might do justice to the role.

Wesley Mouch – The description of Mouch made me actually imagine the Frankenstein. That Rand did this purposefully is not at all likely. But searching for an actor that fits the description is very difficult.

The book is full of very interesting and deliberately sketched characters like Hugh Akston, Midas Mulligan, Quentin Daniels, Owen Kelloggs, Ellis Wyatt, Dr Pritchett, Balph Eubank among others. Of course, my flight of imagination was restricted to a few characters and the various descriptions of events in the book. Converting this book into a movie, is probably as herculean a task as converting Tolkien's Lord of the Rings in a movie, especially if all details are given attention to. How the final product turns out is something that I will have to wait till next year to find out, if it at all gets produced by then (IMDb reports that the director has separated from the project).

3 Comments

Amit said... @ September 20, 2008
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Sachi said... @ September 22, 2008

nice mix of a book review and some imagination liked the style... [:)]

Amit said... @ September 24, 2008
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