by Robin Ruinsky
Seventeen years ago entrepreneur John Aglialoro paid $1 million to option the film rights to Ayn Rand’s 1200 page tome, “Atlas Shrugged.” He wants the first film to start shooting June 11 as in next month (as in two weeks from today). He has no stars and is working on the screenplay himself with the aid of writer Brian O’Toole who has a pretty thin resume. The director is Stephen Polk who hasn’t directed much of anything but has played small roles in many small films.
This team of would-be filmmakers want to make four films from the book. The June 11 date is to kick off production of film number one. It seems to me that not having a cast could be a drawback. Maybe Mr. Polk intends to play all the parts?
This gathering of amateurs calling themselves filmmakers make me wonder if the filming of “Atlas Shrugged” is less about an attempt to create art and more about making a political tome to send out to the masses considering right wing conservatives have taken the book to heart. For many of them, Rand is their personal champion of capitalism and individual rights in the United States, and they’ve even started having tea at their book club meetings.
I believe the only way of attempting to make a successful film from “Atlas Shrugged” would be if a top notch director approached it with no reverence for the material, a good pair of scissors, a fabulous cast and filmed it in 3D.
Incidentally, Aglialoro is CEO of fitness equipment maker Cybex. They make my favorite exercise machine, The Arc trainer. Maybe he should stick to the You Tube videos which demonstrate it and leave real movies to people who have an idea how to create them.
If it ever actually gets off the ground that is.