I remember seeing this maybe half a year ago when I was perusing the wikipedia article on Atlas Shrugged in search of Whittaker Chamber's famous review of Ayn Rand's iconic novel. (I tend to disagree with Mr. Chambers on the fascist overtones in Atlas Shrugged considering it advocates laissez-faire capitalism and attacks large government. In case you don't know, fascists hate laissez-faire capitalism and love large government, but that discussion is for another day) A recent entry in the "Media Blog" at National Review Online (which I would have missed had Rachel Lucas not noticed it) has reminded me of it. Apparently, talks have been underway for years about a film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged starring Angelina Jolie as Dagny Taggart and - according to some reports - Brad Pitt as John Galt. Anyone who has read Atlas Shrugged knows that it strongly advocates a free market which is unfettered by any government interference and refers to those who advocate a welfare state as "looters". This is why I'm puzzled as to why Jolie and Pitt would sign onto the film.
Now I've always known Brad Pitt was a liberal, environmental wackjob, so I can't imagine how he has come to admire Ayn Rand. He famously supported John Kerry in 2004. If he can't stomach George W. Bush, There is no way in hell he can agree with anything John Galt believes aside from his atheism. As for Jolie, maybe she's attracted to Dagny Taggart's character because there are some feministic qualities about her, but Rand portrays other female characters in a bad light, Lily Rearden for example. And given all Jolie's advocacy for the plight of the third world, I find it hard to believe she admires a book in which one of the "good guys" so to speak is a pirate who destroys aid shipments to impoverished countries around the world.
My biggest fear in all of this is that Jolie and Pitt have no idea who Rand was or what Atlas Shrugged advocates. They probably see it as just a chance to have a wild sex scene on film together. I've never minded Jolie much, in fact I go out of my way to avoid the tabloid obsession, and her father, John Voigt is somewhat of a conservative. However, if they tone down the free market, anti government tone of the book so as to not offend Jolie and Pitt's sensibilities, I will never forgive them. Despite being godless and at times reading like a romance novel, Atlas Shrugged is one of my favorite books. If they at all alter Francisco d'Anconia's brilliant monologue on money, I may just become a hermit and live out in the Ozarks, maybe gaining a wacky name from the locals, like "fraggle-toothed Jakey". Bottom line, I'll lose it.
If you're going to do it, do it right.