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Reason.tv: Behind the Scenes of the Atlas Shrugged Movie

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Reason.tv presents exclusive, behind-the-scenes footage of the movie adaption of part I of Ayn Rand's epic and hugely influential novel, Atlas Shrugged, which tells the story of a United States crumbling under the weight of government intervention and the "men of the mind" who fight against their collectivist exploiters.

This sneak peek offers a glimpse into the post-production process as well as portions of a never-before-viewed scene from the movie.

***SPOILER ALERT*** This video contains portions of a scene and actors discussing the actions of their characters. 

This pivotal scene features James Taggart (played by Matthew Marsden, Black Hawk Down, Transformers), the weak-willed, conniving brother of the film's heroine, Dagny Taggart, as he conspires with the likes of corrupt lobbyist Wesley Mouch (Michael Lerner, A Serious Man, Barton Fink), shady businessmen Orren Boyle (Jon Polito, Miller's Crossing), and Paul Larkin (Patrick Fishler, Lost, Southland), to bring down the successful steel magnate Hank Rearden. They view Rearden's supposed threat of monopoly over the steel and railroad industries as on obstacle in the path to success for wealthy playboy Francisco D'Aconia, with whom they're investing their money, though James Taggart is suspicious (perhaps rightly so) of D'Aconia's trustworthiness and business acumen.

Atlas Shrugged Part 1 hits theaters April 15.

Produced by Hawk Jensen and Ted Balaker. Camera by Alex Manning and Jensen, who also edited.

Special thanks to Harmon Kaslow, Mike Marvin, and John Orland.

Approximately 2.5 minutes.

To see our exclusive interview with the producer and screenwriter of Atlas Shrugged Part 1 go here.

To see all our Ayn Rand videos go here.

To see the original Atlas Shrugged trailer go here.

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  1. Setting the movie in modern times is terribly anachronistic. They should have set it back in the 20th century when the details of the story make sense.

    1. Trains are the embodiment of socialism today.
      She should be trying to bring a new drug to market, or a supersonic passenger plane.

      1. Re: Tim,

        She should be trying to bring a new drug to market, or a supersonic passenger plane.

        Or a new phone with snazzy graphics and awesome apps and…

        1. or a natural gas field under New York State.

    2. I discussed this with a few others in another Atlas Shrugged thread. I think it came down to money; setting it in the early-mid 20th century would probably cost more money than they could afford to spend. I think they can still pull it off if they do it right.

      1. Anachronisms can be interesting too — especially when done on purpose.

        Neil Stephenson had a bunch in The Baroque Cycle. Also, at least one that Im sure wasnt on purpose but that I caught due to me knowing more about beer history.

        1. And as the novel is about ideas, not gadgetry and special effects, the setting is hardly of supreme importance, so long as the theme is faithfully rendered.

  2. How long before the porn version, Atlas Shagged, comes out?

    1. YEAH, BABY, YEAH!

      1. Or maybe Hot Ass Shrugged? I’m not a professional marketer.

        1. Atlas can shoot milk from his butt!

          1. You’ve been giving this some thought then.

        2. Hot lass? I mean, less dirty, but otherwise people might miss the pun.

    2. Altas Plugged, or, Ayn and Leonard Make A (Really Repulsive) Porno

  3. ***This video contains portions of a scene and actors discussing the actions of their characters. ****

    No shit?

  4. I’ll probably see this if/when it gets made. But what would REALLY pique my interest is “The Wealth of Nations – The Movie”.

    Oh, wait, no…

    1. That would work better as a miniseries, with John Malkovich as the Mercantilist.

      1. AND INTRODUCING UMA THURMAN, AS THE INVISIBLE HAND.

    2. Capitalism The Unknown Ideal, the Movie!

  5. if/when it gets made

    if/when?

    Its made. April 15th.

  6. Wesley Mowch?…I always pronounced it Mooch.

    I thought it was Rand being very unsubtle.

    1. She said it was supposed to be a combination of “mouse” and “mooch.” A sort of “moochers are mice” theme, I guess.

  7. I always said Mowch. I thought that if she wanted to be unsubtle then she would’ve spelled it “Mooch.”

    Am I wrong?

    1. In the clip above, it is mowch, Im guessing you arent wrong. I pronounced Bene Gesserit with a hard G until I saw that gawdawful movie.

      1. Considering there is no soft G sound in Hebrew, I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be a hard G.

        1. What’s Hebrew got to do with it? Most of the Dune derivations are from Arabic, and even to the extent that they’re both Semitic languages, the stories are also set tens of thousands of years in the future.

        2. It’s Latin. Classical Latin it would be a hard G, but it appears to be Medieval Latin, with a soft G. It basically means “They Meant Well”.

          1. Oh, Lord, I knew that. Strange how compartmentalized my brain has become over the years.

      2. I listened to all the Dune books (all by FRANK Herbert, that is, not those other abominations) on CD, which helped me improve my pronunciations of all his terminology (not that I actually speak those words, now that I think about it). Unless they got it wrong, too, in which case I’m guilty of mispronunciations within mispronunciations within mispronunciations.

        1. So did Frank say Jesserit or Gesserit?

          1. Throatwobbler Mangrove.

            Actually, it was “jesserit.”

            1. “Throatwobbler Mangrove.”

              Throat WARBLER Mangrove.

  8. This sneak peek offers a glimpse into the post-production process as well as portions of a never-before-viewed scene from the movie.

    I’ll wait until it’s available in my local Redbox.

  9. Hmmm…I’m not expecting much here. The casting is terrible, IMO. They should have sold the rights to someone who had the money to do it right.

  10. John Polito! “Relax, man. I’m a brother shamus!”

    1. What’s that? Like an Irish monk?

      1. A dick man!

  11. Setting it in normal times works — railroads are now back “in fashion” as an efficient means of transportation.

    That said, how they deal the critical Taggart Tunnel incident will be interesting…unless they just leave it off the script.

    In anycase…I can’t wait.

    1. How so? Trains still go through tunnels.

      1. But they don’t spew out massive amounts of exhaust anymore.

        1. Diesels still produce huge amounts of exhaust. (And yes, it will kill you, despite the Holocaust deniers that say it won’t. I guess they’ve never heard of smoke inhalation.)

          1. They could just do what they did in the book, and use a coal burner b/c there are no diesels. Or they could say that speed regulations, which were usually silently ignored in the tunnel, were *not* ignored that day because of the bureaucrats’ whining and so they suffocated. Or it could be a rock/mud slide, or a bridge collapsing, or some other disaster. There are lots of ways to do it, you’re just not that creative.

  12. Why this movie will be a total flop: very few libertarian movie critics. You have to be a true believer to consider this plot acceptable as fiction in any form.

    1. Well, whether it’ll make a good movie or even could make a good movie are different questions, but the huge popularity of the book–which can’t be denied, given its sales over the years–would seem to make it “acceptable as fiction.”

      1. Or — You have to be a true believer to deny the book’s popularity.

        1. Obviously, a shitload of copies have been sold over the years, but even right now, it’s like #178 or so in the Amazon rankings. I believe it was a top seller for a while just in the last couple of years. Pretty good, anyway you cut it.

          Whether it’s great literature or whatever is another question, but its popularity is pretty evident.

          1. I bet fewer than 1 out of 100 purchasers of her books ever read them.

            1. Tony have you even read Atlas Shrugged? Shut the fuck up.

              1. Yes and The Fountainhead.

                1. Then why the fuck would you think that no one reads this? If a libtard like you did it, what’s to stop anyone else?

                  1. It’s critical to Tony’s entire delusional sense of superiority that he regards most people as half literate and too dumb to care. This must be so or else he is average.

                    1. Tony aveage??? Not a chance!
                      He is Wisdom to the mighty, He is Succour to the brave.

            2. I rather doubt it’s quite that bad, but I’m sure there’s some truth in the idea that not every purchaser makes it through the whole thing. I know quite a few non-libertarians who have read it, just speaking anecdotally.

              The only book that I know of that might reach the ratio you describe is A Brief History of Time. Which I read, so 99 of you must not have.

              1. I got Atlas Shrugged as a gift. The person who gave it to me had never read it. They had no idea that that would probably be the greatest gift of my life.

                I read the whole thing. I reread large parts of it several times. I never had any trouble.

                But I *like* to read.

                1. Tony would like to read, if he could just get his head out of his ass.

              2. Count me as one of the 99

            3. There are a lot of great (read: influential) philosophers who published books that present ideas that some people adhere to fanatically though they never read them.
              Hegel and Marx come to mind. But I can imagine that Rand is another one of those.

              1. Of course, in the case of such philosophers, there’s no lack of secondary sources that explain their works in–well, at least sometimes–more accessible terms. I’ve been an on-again, off-again student of philosophy (on my own–not crazy enough to get a degree in it), but plenty of what I’ve read has been of the secondary variety. Though I do think there’s value in reading many of the primary sources.

                In Rand’s case, I don’t think her philosophy is terribly complex or inaccessible, and her books are readable enough to be bestsellers, so I imagine that they’ve actually reached a pretty large percentage of readers.

                Also, growing up, I knew quite a few people who read Rand and hated her.

        2. Indeed. From what I’ve read, production costs were pretty reasonable, at least for Part 1. They may do alright.

      2. Yes, the book is very popular, but what per cent of Americans have read it???

    2. A flop isn’t determined by the critics. It’s determined by who goes and watches it. It will probably do pretty well.

      Stop being so negative all the time.

      1. That would mean you guys would have to put on some sunscreen and leave your basements.

        1. Nice comeback.

        2. Knowing several of the commenters here (including, Socratically, myself), I’d say you’re about as far off as you could get.

          Trolls, on the other hand, are prototypical basement dwellers. If you were a real person and not a sockpuppet, I’d make further insinuations.

      2. Always with the negative waves Moriarty, always with the negative waves.

    3. You have to be a true believer to consider this plot acceptable as fiction in any form.

      Odd statement, considering how many people were turned on to libertarianism by reading Atlas; finding it acceptable as fiction in the first place is part of what turned them into true believers.

      So you’re saying they slog through it before they’re true believers, not considering it acceptable as fiction in any form, and then decide to be true believers anyway? Or they’re true believers to begin with, and then read it knowing it to be acceptable as fiction? (Which is also odd, because a big chunk of us tiny minority called libertarians poo-poo the book because they’re too cool.) Or what?

      All that is more plausible than a bazillion people reading it, enjoying it, and a big chunk of them realizing that hey maybe she had a point?

      Or are you just extruding from your pie-hole as usual?

      1. I think the plot goes somewhat overboard, and I’m not sure people would behave completely like she describes, on either side; however, there’s a lot of truth to the statism she feared in the novel. We see loads of it today, unfortunately.

      2. I’m not sure many people actually got converted to Rand’s religion through the book. I think they were closet egotists all along and the book just let them snap the pieces together.

        The idea that someone who believes in helping his fellow human beings would read the book and instantly because a selfish asshole pretending to be libertarian while espousing an interventionist foreign policy is absurd.

        1. p.s. I did NOT become a libertarian by reading Rand. In many ways she is the anti-libertarian.

          1. I was a libertarian long before reading or even hearing about Rand.

      3. I dunno. I guess I’m saying it’s awful fiction and even worse philosophy. I get the appeal, I was suckered for a while in 8th grade. Like all cults and religions it rewards you for living how you would choose to live anyway and calls you special for it. In this case as a narcissistic miser.

        1. What?!? How do you figure that cults and religions reward you for living how you would choose to live anyway?

        2. You should have never dropped out of 8th grade!

    4. You have to be a true believer to consider this plot acceptable as fiction in any form.

      So you’re saying it’s nonfiction?

    5. The villains were always more believable than the protagonists, to me. They need to make the antagonists the star, top billing, good actors, good lines. The heroes are just to keep the plot moving.

    6. I agree with Tony here. I am not sure it will be a total flop, but most people are way too fucking stupid to understand the concept. Tony being a perfect example. This is how a sack of shit with big ears became President!

  13. Looks like it’s on a par with the Left Behind movies.

    That is, crappy-with-a-heavy-handed-message.

  14. The dialog isn’t any worse than that in the Star Wars prequel trailers.

    1. Dear Lord!

  15. I bet fewer than 1 out of 100 purchasers of her books ever read them.

    True. I have Ayn Rand books that I never have read. Most of my books are actually just decoration. I got the idea from a travel plaza outside of Oxford, Iowa when I was hitchhiking to California. The bricks were shaped like books with a lot of impressive titles in science, mathematics, philosophy and literature. The books I have give my room the intellectual vibe that allows me to smart-talk college girls outta their panties with very little to no resistance.

    1. You are smart.

    2. The only books on my shelves I haven’t been able to get through are versions of the bible. It’s what makes me pretty sure the vast majority of Christians haven’t really read their holy book either.

      1. The bible isn’t for Christians. The bible is for atheists so they can prove how stupid christians are using god’s words. I’ve taken enough pscyhoactive drugs to know that a lot of shit is possible that transcends logic, but if I were to take any of those notions seriously, it wouldn’t be something as boring as christianity.

      2. I read it. Most of it was boring or morally incompatible with our society, but I liked the part with Jesus. He said some profound shit.

        1. I’ve always thought Christianity would’ve done a lot better ejecting the Old Testament.

      3. We seem to agree on religion.

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  18. Somebody would have to pay me big bucks to go watch a movie about anything based on the fictional rants of that bitch Ayn Rand!

    Atlas shrugged and nobody gives a s**t!

    1. Nothing like an Ayn Rand thread to really bring the crazies out of the woodwork.

    2. Me and you Rich, we’re of the same head.

  19. As it turns out, they are paying folks to watch the film (or at least theaters).

    The invisible hand once again gives the finger.

    Sound familiar Nick?

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