Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Epic Fail - Update

The awesome $5m movie of Rand's epic Atlas Shrugged has wrapped. Below, fitness equipment entrepreneur and first time movie producer John Aglialaro provides us with an alleged "teaser":

Atlas Shrugged teaser from The Atlas Society on Vimeo.


Anonymous said...

That sound in the background was Rand turning over in her grave.

J. Goard said...

I think I just blew a funny fuse.

Michael Prescott said...

I don't know whether to laugh or to cry ...

Anonymous said...

Yet over at TOC he is praised for his successful adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. Unfortunately they don't know what makes a good movie as this seems to be its USP. Don't they realise that there is much, much more to a good film than a successful adaptation from it's source material! James Hilton did a great job adapting his novel The Lost Horizon for the 1937 of the same name...but it would have counted for very little were it not for the input of Frank Carpa and his crew...never mind the stellar cast.
Bizarrely they also praise the independent spirit of this production, poo-pooing the Hollywood studios who have shunned the project. Perhaps they have forgotten that the Fountainhead was made by the very Hollywood they now despise! The director of this is better than King Vidor? They have a better cast than the Fountainhead? Well, not that it matters to them as the only thing that matters, in their eyes, is how successful the adaptation is. Well they will be ones that have to grit their teeth and sit through it.

Steven Johnston

Anonymous said...

"I don't know whether to laugh or to cry ..."

Chaplin was the only guy that made me feel that way...and I mean that is a postive sense.

You think this film will rank with Reefer Madness or Mommie Dearest for unintentional laughs?

Or will it be another Battlefield Earth?

Steven Johnston

Michael Prescott said...

"You think this film will rank with Reefer Madness or Mommie Dearest for unintentional laughs? Or will it be another Battlefield Earth?"

I'm thinking it may earn a place in the Ed Wood Hall of Fame, alongside Glen or Glenda, Bride of the Monster, and Plan Nine from Outer Space.

"over at TOC he is praised for his successful adaptation of Atlas Shrugged"

I don't see how anyone could see it as a successful adaptation when it starts with Mouch, Wyatt, and Jim Taggart being interviewed on a CNBC-like program. This approach instantly vaporizes all the larger-than-life, mythic qualities of the novel.

Michael Medved once wrote a book about the worst movies of all time, and made the point that most of them were not churned out as hack potboilers, but were labors of love by people who deeply believed in them and lost all their objectivity on the material.

Of course it doesn't exactly help when the filmmakers are inexperienced beginners ...

Michael Prescott said...
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Michael Prescott said...

By a happy chance, I was able to secure an exclusive interview with John Aglialaro, who fills us in on the upcoming "Atlas" movie.

Q: Mr. Aglialaro, what was the most important thing to you about bringing "Atlas Shrugged" to the screen?

A: The key to the movie is to start strong and close strong. So we're starting with a scene where Wesley Mouch, Jim Taggart, and Ellis Wyatt debate on CNBC. Well, it might be CNBC, or it might be CNN or Fox News or Headline News or Bloomberg or BBC or Fox Business or ESPN or TBS or FX or PBS. I can't say, obviously. But it's CNBC. And Wyatt is in a remote location, which we do with a green screen. And the movie is in color, by the way. It's a color film.

Q: In the clip I saw, Wyatt makes reference to "back-room shenanigans." Is this dialogue taken from the novel?

A: The syllables that make up those words are in the novel, but not arranged in that order.

Q: Are there any lines of dialogue that were taken from the novel?

A: There are lots of words straight out of Ayn Rand's text. Words like "the" and "and" and "of."

Q: Why did you fire the director you'd announced for the project and replace him with Paul Johannson just a few days before the commencement of photography?

A: When you have an opportunity to work with a super-talented guy like Paul, you can't pass it up. I mean, he's a double threat, both a writer and a director. Like Orson Welles. Or H.G. Wells. I always get those two mixed up. Which one did "War of the Worlds"?

Q: They both did.

A: Well, that's just confusing.

Q: How did your background as a purveyor of gym equipment help you to master the filmmaking process?

A: I learned a lot from the exercise biz. For one thing, I learned there's no pain, no gain. If we do this movie the way we intend to, sitting through it will be an incredibly painful experience.

(Continued with Part Two below)

Michael Prescott said...
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Michael Prescott said...
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Michael Prescott said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Prescott said...

Q: Do you have a favorite moment in the film?

A: There's a scene where Francisco has to tell Dagny that he can't give her the money she needs for the John Galt Line. And when I watched the actor we hired - who's an unemployed pizza delivery guy living on the beach in Santa Monica, by the way - anyway, when I watched him deliver those lines, I had a tear in my eye, a real tear. Because I realized I had just pissed away north of five million dollars on this vanity project. Who wouldn't cry about that?

Q: Any other emotional moments?

A: The scene where Dagny exchanges her bracelet for the bracelet of Rearden Metal. We had a bracelet made out of aluminium foil, spray-painted blue-green, and then we shot it in front of a green screen. It looks almost like a real bracelet. And it's in color.

Q: When can we expect to see "Atlas"?

A: The movie has nearly completed its lengthy three-day shooting schedule. After that, there'll be an extensive post-production period lasting at least a week. We hope to get the movie into theaters sometime next month, and then you can go there and buy your popcorn or your Twizzlers or your Gummi Bears or what-have-you and watch it on the big screen. That is, if anyone gives us a theatrical distribution deal, which is more than doubtful, considering that we have no stars, no budget, and no credibility whatsoever.

Q: Speaking of stars, at one time Angelina Jolie was interested in playing Dagny Taggart. What happened?

A: Well, you know, the economy and Lion's Gate and financing and studios and green screen. All of that. But if we had used A-list stars we couldn't have done "Atlas" as a cheesy no-budget independent film. And that was really our dream all along. You know, so it would be a piece of crap.

Q: Your producer, Harmon Kaslow, has an impressive list of credits.

A: Yes, Harmon has produced a number of major, significant, barely released movies like "Fatal Choice," "Boo," and "Jam." All of which were in color.

Q: You said the film has to start and end strong. Can you give us some idea of the ending?

A: It involves Dagny seeing Ellis Wyatt's house on fire, which will be done with a green screen. And then she rushes into the burning house, and there's this button flashing, and she presses the button, and there's a message from Wyatt, which I can't reveal because I don't want to spoil it --

Q: No, please don't.

A: But it's a great, great, great line that will make the rest of the movie seem almost tolerable, hopefully. Oh, what the hell. I'll spill it. Ellis Wyatt says ... "Green screen!"

Q: That pretty much sums up what this version of "Atlas" is all about.

A: I think so, yes.

Q: Thanks very much for your time, Mr. Aglialaro. I'm sure we all look forward to seeing "Atlas" in the super-discount DVD bargain bin of our local Rite-Aid very soon.

Michael Prescott said...

Sorry for all the deleted posts. Blogger made it ridiculously hard to put up this stupid "interview."

In retrospect, it really wasn't worth the effort.

Anonymous said...

BS Michael of course it was worth it! You made this limey socialist laugh...if that is not reward I don't know what is. Not up there with Prometheous Burped but I feel this was one was "off the cuff"

Steven Johnston

Wells said...

I didn't watch much of the trailer because I couldn't get much sound out of it. But the general vibe I got was film students making a film for a film class.

This will go down in history, but not with Ed Wood. Ed Wood's flicks could have been decent if he knew anything. These guys' problem was that they were hobbled by rigid doctrine, So their fate is more analogous with 'Battlefield Earth'.
Their willingness to jettison the actual scenes of the book in favor of scoring points in the current political debates is reminiscent to the movie 'Starship Troopers'; with the notable exception that the 'Starship Troopers' movie was an entertaining movie that had the same name as a Heinlein book, but 'Atlas Shrugged' will be a shitty movie with the same name as a Rand book.

The Five Million Dollar Question though is what would you have done better?

Sprezzatura said...


That was completely worth the effort.


Anonymous said...

"The Five Million Dollar Question though is what would you have done better?"

Opened some spa's. They are all the rage in the UK these days and the returns are fantastic.

Steven Johnston