More on the development of an Atlas Shrugged movie, in an announcement from the Objectivist Center:
“Atlas” Movie One Step Closer! The Inside Scoop
April 27, 2006 — The effort to film Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged has just taken a big step forward. Daily Variety reports a leaked story that Lionsgate, the independent studio whose movie “Crash” recently won the Oscar for best picture, will be distributing the film.
We’ve confirmed today that a deal is going forward under which Lionsgate will take an option to finance and distribute the film. The executive producers are John Aglialoro, a Trustee of The Atlas Society and The Objectivist Center, and Howard Baldwin, whose movie “Ray” won an Oscar for best actor (Jamie Foxx). Lionsgate will put around $35 million into the film.
The film will be based on a script of the first part of the novel, written by Jim V. Hart and reviewed by David Kelley, founder of The Atlas Society-The Objectivist Center. Hart also penned the script for the film “Contact,” based on the novel by astronomer Carl Sagan. It is anticipated “Atlas” will be a multi- part film.
So far no actors have been cast; that will be done by the director, once one is chosen, in conjunction with the executive producers and Lionsgate.
Variety also reports that stars Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are interested in parts in the film. This will come as no surprise to subscribers of The New Individualist. The current issue features the two on the cover, and in an article by the publication’s editor, Robert Bidinotto, which looks at the interest in Rand’s works among Hollywood’s elite.
The New York Post is also reporting today on these same developments.
UPDATE: The original story in Variety, which spawned much of the media chatter on this topic over the past few days, gives a lot of useful background, including this:
In 2003, [producers Howard and Karen Baldwin] acquired the film rights to the novel from Aglialoro, a New York businessman, after launching Crusader Entertainment with Philip Anschutz. [Writer James V.] Hart was hired at that time to adapt.
Anschutz, however, ultimately decided not to make the movie.
The Baldwins then took the project with them when they left Crusader and formed the Baldwin Entertainment Group.
“What we’ve always needed was a studio that had the same passion for this project that we and John have,” said Baldwin.
Generally speaking, Lionsgate keeps production budgets below $25 million. “Atlas” is likely to cost north of $30 million, but the studio will reduce its exposure through international pre-sales and co-financing partners. Actors would likely take less money upfront — a common practice for the indie.