Publisher's note: The movie plans discussed below were scrapped and are currently outdated. We're preserving the article here for historical purposes. For more recent information about the Atlas Shrugged movie project, see our 23 Nov 2010 interview with producer John Aglialoro about the Atlas Shrugged movie.
John Aglialoro is chief executive officer and chairman of Cybex International, which manufactures high-end treadmills, cross trainers, and weight equipment.
In 2007, Fortune Small Business rated Cybex #30 on their list of America’s fastest-growing companies, and rated Aglialoro #10 on their list of “richest execs” who own $10 million or more in stock and options.
In 1992, Aglialoro paid $1 million for the film rights to make an Atlas Shrugged movie. Today he is an executive producer of the forthcoming production, in association with Lionsgate Entertainment.
The following interview was conducted by Susan Paris on February 6th, 2008. The next day, she read the interview at the New York City Junto meeting celebrating Rand’s 103rd birthday.
The Atlasphere is grateful to Ms. Paris and Mr. Aglialoro for their permission to reprint this interview for its readers.
Susan Paris: Is Angelina Jolie firmly committed to the project?
John Aglialoro: Yes, she is. Here is what she told us: “Dagny Taggart is the most relatable character to me of all the extensive literature I have ever read.”
Aglialoro: We have a letter of intent.
SP: What will happen if current rumors that she is pregnant turn out to be true?
Aglialoro: I won’t comment on her personal matters.
SP: Would this excuse her from a commitment, or would the project be delayed?
Aglialoro: The Writers Guild strike has delayed us. And the contract of the Screen Actors Guild is up in May.
Rand’s original title for Atlas Shrugged was “The Strike.” So irony of ironies, we’re being held up by a strike. Fortunately the Directors Guild has already settled.
If it wasn’t for the writers strike the script would be finished and we’d be looking at locations.SP: What other actors, if any, have committed to the project?
Aglialoro: We have had discussions with Russell Crowe to play the part of Hank Rearden. He has read the script. He’s very much in demand so we’ll have to see if he likes the script enough to fit this project in.
SP: Who is John Galt?
Aglialoro: He’ll probably be played by an unknown.
SP: The music of Rand’s character Richard Halley plays an important part in the novel. What are your plans for music?
Aglialoro: I’m looking
for an epic musical composition, the sort that contributed so much to films
like Out of Africa, The Natural, and Titanic.
I hope Lionsgate (the production and distribution company) will come up with something truly powerful.
SP: Is there a cameo for Patricia Neal?
Aglialoro: I am glad you reminded me. It would be nice to work that in.
SP: Are you still planning three parts?
Aglialoro: No. It will be one movie, lasting roughly 2½ hours.
SP: When will filming begin?
Aglialoro: Fourth quarter of 2008 or 1st quarter of 2009.
SP: When would it open in theaters?
Aglialoro: You got to figure an editing process of at least six months. Probably you’re talking about the Fall of 2009.
SP: Do you think the final script will adequately convey the message of Rand's book?
Aglialoro: The essence of the message will be there. We can’t include every detail from the book.
We want people to be driven to the book by the movie.
In fact, when we do the DVD we want to include something on the disc to promote the book. I expect to include a feature on the making of the movie.
Aglialoro: James V. Hart
did the first script. Then Randall Wallace took it over and added a lot to it.
Then our director, Vadim Perelman, did a lot of writing. So those three will have writing credit.
The script is excellent.
I’m going to try to get a credit for David Kelley as either a writer or an assistant producer. He has been integral in helping with the philosophic judgments in approving the script, and keeping true to the Objectivist view of the message of the novel.
SP: Is the story set in the 1950s, in the time when the book was released?
Aglialoro: It will be set in modern-day America. And it will be in color. The budget is $70 million.
SP: What kind of response do you expect?
Aglialoro: I think the extreme right and the extreme left will unite in a rare unity to denounce the movie and its philosophic message.We will have hostile reviews. But the quality of this production will win out.