Over the last year, I've been working on a documentary about the novel Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I started off as an Assistant Editor, and eventually became an Associate Producer. Today, almost a year after I started, we are having our big premier at the ArcLight Hollywood! The film is also playing in over sixty theaters throughout the United States, and it's on the front page of Apple Trailers.
Ayn Rand & the Prophecy of Atlas Shrugged is directed by Chris Mortensen, who describes the film as "a biography of a book and an idea." We had some great interviews, including Albert S. Ruddy, producer of The Godfather & Million Dollar Baby. You can see an excerpt from his interview here:
This was a great project to be a part of. I read Atlas Shrugged when I was in high school, recommended to it by my biology teacher, Mr. Bramwell. The novel was breathtaking. I couldn't put it down. It's such a great mystery, such a great love story, and the ideas in it were challenging and engaging. I eventually read all of Ayn Rand's novels, and through her, discovered my favourite novelist, Victor Hugo, and my favourite playwright, Friedrich Schiller. I have three dream projects to adapt and direct one day. Hugo's The Man Who Laughs, Schiller's Don Carlos, and Ayn Rand's We the Living.
Unfortunately, Ayn Rand has become an icon for political campaigns, often used by people she would have disagreed with. Her ideas are constantly being misrepresented and mischaracterized. Recently, the founder of Lululemon Athletica, a yoga clothing company, put a quote from Atlas Shrugged on the company's shopping bags. "Who is John Galt?" To him, this represented the company's vision to "elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness." The public outcry, though, was astounding. People came out calling the quote "offensive," and readily admitting they had never read the novel!
I'm hoping this documentary helps present a more objective view of who Ayn Rand was, and what Atlas Shrugged is all about. We interviewed biographers, CEOs, colleagues, critics. The angle Chris Mortensen took was to look at the novel as a predictive work. There are sections of it that, as radio host Dennis Miller said, read like a modern day AP News story. But the novel was written in 1957!
How did Ayn Rand predict the financial crisis? It's a very interesting story. But the most interesting story is the basic plot of Atlas Shrugged: A mystery about the question "Who is John Galt?" And a drama about Dagny Taggart, whose greatest allies keep disappearing, one by one.
Here is a trailer for the documentary: