8/29/04 I previously reported that the acquisition of Crusader Entertainment--which earlier acquired the film rights to Atlas Shrugged--may affect whether Atlas is ultimately produced. Good news: former Crusader Entertainment principals Howard and Karen Baldwin have set up Baldwin Entertainment Group, a new film and entertainment company, and Nathaniel Baldwin, a creative exec there was kind enough to send me this note: "Atlas Shrugged, along with various other projects, has been brought over with us. I can assure you that development on this project has not slowed in the least. Jim V. Hart is working away and so are we." Keep your fingers crossed. We may see Atlas on the big or small screen yet...
5/16/04 The takeover of Crusader Entertainment, which earlier acquired the film rights to Atlas Shrugged, by Anschutz Film Group, may affect whether Atlas is ultimately produced. More on this here.
5/18/03 Screenwriter James Hart, who will write the Atlas screenplay, is interviewed regarding it here.
5/18/03 Howard Baldwin, president and CEO of Crusader Entertainment (the company that will produce Atlas) said in a recent interview, "Atlas Shrugged is not going to be a low budget movie...I think the box office potential is huge, because of the enormous interest. It is one of the best-selling books of all time." This is significant, as previous efforts, particularly that of TNT, planned to film the story with the most slender "made for TV" -type funding. It may be lucky that it has taken this long for the book to fall into the right hands. You can read more about the Atlas project in this interesting article here.
5/13/03 Atlas Shrugged is back on track! Crusader Entertainment, LLC, a Beverly Hills-based production company has just acquired the film rights to Ayn Rand's magnum opus, and the company has signed veteran screenwriter James V. Hart, whose film credits include the ambitious adaptation of Carl Sagan's science fiction novel Contact, to write the screenplay. You can read more about this here.
4/20/02 As mentioned previously, TNT dropped plans for an Atlas Shrugged TV Miniseries, but producer Al Ruddy is still attempting to arrange production of an Atlas Shrugged movie. Meanwhile, according to a comprehensive article on the subject posted at the Atlas Society web site, John Aglialoro, who holds the film rights to the novel, is "looking at all the options in terms of how to structure the story as well as the project. After half a dozen scripts that tried to tell the whole story, it may be time to consider spinning out the core plot of the strike, which conveys Rand's essential message, and not trying to include all the subsidiary plot-lines, relationships, and consequences of the strike." You can see this interesting article, which also details the demise of the TNT miniseries, here.
3/23/02-- Bad news on the "Atlas Shrugged" miniseries project: the deal with TNT is off. In announcing the unwinding of the deal, however, a spokesperson at Ruddy Morgan Productions also said that the company hasn't given up on Atlas. The script has been rewritten as feature motion picture and is currently being circulated in Hollywood with the hope of attracting leading players. Let's hope that some bankable talent is interested, "in the name of the best within us."
9/14/01-- A spokesperson for Ruddy Morgan Productions said that the "Atlas Shrugged" movie is still in development despite delays. In response to an inquiry as to the nature of the holdup, the spokesperson said "Delays?! Delays are not unusual. That's Hollywood." Any chance that the movie is being cancelled? "No. 'Atlas Shrugged' will be definitely be made."
7/7/01-- As mentioned previously, the "Atlas Shrugged" movie project has been on hold for months due to the threatened actors strike. Happily, negotiators for Hollywood's actors and producers recently announced they have reached a tentative three-year deal. The new deal must be approved by a majority of the 135,000 members of the two acting unions, the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists; it is expected to be ratified.
5/19/01-- Entertainment columnist Jeannie Williams reports in USA Today:
"[The Atlas Shrugged miniseries] was to have begun shooting this spring.
Producer Al Ruddy's office says the actors' strike has precluded that.
Ruddy is fine-tuning the budget and locations but doesn't want to be forced
into production without the actors he thinks are best. No new shooting
schedule is set." Negotiators for the Screen Actors Guild and producers
resumed talking yesterday, after a two-day break from the bargaining table.
11/25/00-- Variety recently reported a little of the historical background of the "Atlas Shrugged" movie project, as well as news that "The Fountainhead" may be remade by Oliver Stone:
"Forgive producer Al Ruddy for crowing that he's got a finished script for the Turner miniseries adaptation of the Ayn Rand novel 'Atlas Shrugged,' and is now looking for weighty stars and a director to start production shortly. He's been trying to adapt the book since, well, right after he produced 'The Godfather' and it's been more than two decades since he followed that picture by getting Rand randy about a Paramount adaptation of her work that he told her would star Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford and Faye Dunaway.
'This thing's been around longer than my Chrysler, but it blew up over a contractual point, her insistence on final script approval and I knew better, even though this book's sold more hardbacks than the Bible,' said Ruddy. 'There's a 60-page speech, when John Galt says goodbye to America, and she'd have wanted it all in there.' Ruddy and Rand parted with some acrimony. 'I told her, 'I'll wait until you drop dead if I have to,' and she said, 'I'll put it in my will that you'll be the only person not doing it,' said Ruddy, who added that the author was deathly afraid the Soviets would hijack any plane she took to discuss the book, or that they would buy Paramount just to derail the adaptation.
But when her estate checked through her notes, Ruddy was told he'd been favorably depicted by the author, and Ruddy rejoined the project after UMC Holdings chairman John Aglialoro took the rights off the table in a seven-figure deal. Ruddy said Rand, whose 'The Fountainhead' is being developed by Warner Bros. as a vehicle for Oliver Stone, would have liked the script penned by Sue Black (who wrote the Ruddy-produced TNT picture 'Running Mates' with Tom Selleck). The script has been endorsed by the Objectivist Center, flame keeper for Rand's philosophies."
10/28/00-- The script for the upcoming film version of Atlas Shrugged has finally been finished, after six months of struggling to capture the essence of the 1,150 page book. As reported in USA Today, producer Alan Ruddy "plans a two-parter: two hours for the first, three for the finale. 'We're going to start talking to actors and directors.' He says Ted Turner loves the script, as do leaders of the late Rand's Objectivist philosophy movement. Acknowledging 'you lose about 75% of the book,' Ruddy says the script maintains the integrity of Rand's themes. He can pay $1 million for the actress to play railroad owner Dagny Taggart, and seven figures also for the Hank Rearden actor. Ruddy hopes to begin shooting Atlas in February; it could air next fall."
10/28/00-- Meanwhile, Prodos.com has published an earlier interview with producer Alan Ruddy, screenwriter Susan Black, and Australian movie expert Bill Collins, regarding the Atlas project. It's here.
10/21/00-- The Daily Objectivist (TDO) reports that "all systems are 'go'" for the "Atlas Shrugged" movie project, according to John Aglialoro, the investor who several years ago purchased the movie rights to "Atlas Shrugged" from Leonard Peikoff. However, "an upcoming Hollywood strike might or might not delay production of this film about the strike to end all strikes. Apparently, if production starts before a certain date, then the production is grandfathered and can go ahead, regardless of strikes, the sulking of the unions, etc. If so, the miniseries could air around July 4, 2001 (though that may be a tad too optimistic)." TDO also reports that John Aglialoro and David Kelley were asked "how would the film handle the problem of the railroad setting, given the fact that the railroads no longer link every hub of the American economy as they once did. Aglialoro and Kelley smiled at each other and Kelley would only say that the creative team had found an ingenious solution."
7/22/00-- Barbara Branden reports that Alan Ruddy, the producer of the "Atlas Shrugged" film, is getting some intellectual input on the meaning of the novel. No less than David Kelley and Jon Aglialoro (both of the Objectivist Center) are advising on the production.
5/11/00-- Per a spokesperson from Ruddy Morgan Productions, the script is still in development and is expected to be finished in about a month. No decisions have yet been made about cast and crew.
4/13/00-- Per a spokesperson from Ruddy Morgan Productions, the script is still in development. The cast has not yet been selected. A web page for the film will eventually be launched.
1/7/00-- USA Today reports that producer Al Ruddy is in talks with "a highly respected veteran director" to make the film version of Ayn Rand's classic novel "Atlas Shrugged." Per the article, "A treatment of the story is finished but must be seen 'by certain people involved with Rand (organizations). We have contractual obligations to let them know how we want to abstract a screenplay from the book,' Ruddy says. He says he hopes the script will be started by the end of the month, finished by April or May. Ruddy is set to shoot this summer and is expected to air the film in 2001. Casting for the film is apparently still undetermined, however Ruddy indicated that Jude Law could be a contender for Galt.
11/5/99-- USA Today reports that two "bankable" stars have been in touch with him about parts in the "Atlas Shrugged" film. Producer Ruddy also said "I've had calls from people of wealth and power all over the world who wanted to get involved in the financing." The budget will be "north of $15 -$20 million."
10/27/99-- Per TNT Press Release: "Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged, one of the last unproduced epics of the 20th century, will be the subject of a Turner Network Television (TNT) Original film, it was announced today by Julie Weitz, executive vice president, TNT Originals. Academy Award¨ winner Albert S. Ruddy (The Godfather Trilogy) will executive-produce the four-hour miniseries for Ruddy Morgan Productions. John Aglialoro will also executive-produce, with Gloria Alter producing. The script will be written by Susan Black. 'Atlas Shrugged is a terrific example of the TNT Originals franchise at its best: Intelligent, enlightening and important,' said Weitz. 'It joins our stellar line-up of TNT literary adaptations including Animal Farm, A Christmas Carol and Don Quixote.' 'I've waited 25 years for this opportunity. It is a dream come true,' said Ruddy, who has produced more than 20 features, including The Godfather and The Longest Yard, and created television shows including How The West Was Won; Walker, Texas Ranger; and the classic Hogan's Heroes."
Copyright © 2004 by Jon Osborne.