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Could Jolie have been the star?

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By Jason Apuzzo. Yesterday we posted on the new Atlas Shrugged adaptation that just went into production this past weekend.  Word comes now today from Deadline Hollywood that the film’s original director and co-producer, Stephen Polk, is threatening to sue over being dumped from the project two weeks before its start.

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What’s more, Polk opens up to Deadline about the fact that the film has gone into production with such an apparently low budget, and without major stars headlining it.  Polk seems to believe that the trigger was pulled on the project too soon, with major talent (Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron, for example, had been mentioned as possible Dagney Taggarts) potentially available to come on board.

Only time will tell how much of this is true.  One important point: according to the initial Variety article about all this, producer John Aglialoro was going to lose the feature rights if the project wasn’t in production by this past weekend.  I don’t know how this squares with Polk’s version of events.  People spend entire lifetimes in Hollywood waiting for major talent to come aboard their projects.  Would Jolie of Theron ever really have signed on to this?  Maybe.  But the question becomes: how long is a producer with rights-issues likely to wait?

In any case, none of this looks good.  It’s obviously bad to kick-off a production with a lawsuit, and this one has the potential to be devastating given the already limited resources of the production.  Needless to say, having the original director now bad-mouthing the project isn’t helping either.

My instincts tell me that given the way this Atlas Shrugged project was structured – as a 4-part film series – there was no way a major A-list actress like Jolie or Theron was going to commit to it without: 1) guaranteed studio distribution; 2) a gigantic paycheck.  That’s the reality of the situation, so it’s possible that Mr. Polk is being a little unrealistic here.

Either way, we’re still going to wish the makers of this film the best as they forge ahead under challenging circumstances.

Posted on June 15th, 2010 at 11:50am.

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6 Responses to “New Atlas Shrugged Film Hits Turbulence”

  1. Trojan Horse says:

    This just goes to show you how Hollywood can’t even make a film out of one of the most popular novels of all time without everyone suing each other. Very disappointing. BTW – why isn’t Rupert Murcdoch or Phil Anschutz or some other conservative billionaire funding this? Why do these filmmakers have to make this with only $5 mill. from an exercise equipment company?

  2. Moonk says:

    I’m not very surprised by any of this. The novel is overrated and that’s probably why the studios passed.

    • johngaltjkt says:

      Yea….Atlas Shrugged is in no way as entertaining or enlightening as such upbeat novels like The Color Purple or The Cider House Rules.

      • Moonk says:

        Chill, dude. Don’t be so oversensitive … But really, can someone here explain why, if Atlas Shrugged is such a great novel, all the studios have passed on it?

      • johngaltjkt says:

        Moonk,
        Thank you for your response and I believe(?) your point is that Atlas Shrugged is not well written. It’s foolhardy of me to get into that type of debate because I AIN’T no literary critic.
        I also think you’re missing my point too. Atlas Shrugged is no more poorly written (if that’s the case) than the two examples that I cited or any other dreadful novel that’s been made into a movie. The other point I was trying (poorly) to make is the reason Atlas Shrugged has not been made into a movie is it’s theme and the philosophy of it’s author, Ayn Rand. (and it’s why The Color Purple and The Cider House Rules, were made into movies) The theme of Atlas Shrugged are anathema to everything that Big Liberal Hollywood stands for. Atlas Shrugged may not be well written in a literary sense but it’s also sold a ton of copies and continues to sell tons. And themes be damned because nothing speaks to Hollywood like built in audience for their “product”.
        There’s two examples of that right now. The Harry Potter series and the Eclipse series. I’ve read all the Harry Potter books and find them all very enjoyable. The movies to date to be VERY kind about it, leave me lacking. I’ve never read the Eclipse novels and have only seen one of the movies (the last one for which I cannot recall the title) I felt the movie was awful while I also felt the actors (seriously) have huge futures ahead of them.
        In conclusion and in my humble opinion the only thing that’s stopped Hollywood from making Atlas Shrugged into a movie is it’s theme and it’s author. If it fits into the Hollywood world view then it’ll be made into a movie.

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