Albert Ruddy, producer of “The Godfather,” lands rights to shoot screen version of “Atlas Shrugged”
Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” rightfully sits upon many a libertarian’s bookshelf as a testament to the influence of Rand’s fiction on the liberty movement.
With its sweeping and philosophical defense of personal and economic liberty, “Atlas Shrugged” crystallizes Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism by offering a dystopian view of the future whereby “the producers” or “the men of the mind” have gone on strike, leaving a world that does not respect or wish to know the moral value of these independent, rational, and productive human beings to fend for its own survival.
Though “Atlas Shrugged” has long been a popular success with the general public as a novel, there has also long been controversy surrounding any screen adaptation of the work. In the 1970’s, producer of “The Godfather” Albert S. Ruddy almost inked a deal with Rand for the rights to shoot the novel, but the deal fell through because Rand insisted on approving any final script.
But now after 40 years, Mr. Ruddy has finally landed the rights to adapt “Atlas Shrugged” for the home screen.
The New York Times reports:
Ms. Rand, who had left the Soviet Union in the 1920s and feared the Russians might acquire Paramount Pictures to subvert the project, wanted script approval; Mr. Ruddy, as adamant as she was, declined. “Then I’ll put in my will, the one person who can’t get it is you,” Mr. Ruddy recalls being told by Ms. Rand, who died in 1982.
Eventually, the rights were acquired by John Aglialoro, an investor and devotee of Ms. Rand’s philosophy, which celebrates capitalism and rational self-interest. Mr. Aglialoro became a producer of three independent films based on the nearly 1,200-page novel, beginning with “Atlas Shrugged: Part I,” released in 2011.
At the box office, however, the pictures made barely a blip. “You shot the book, not the movie,” Mr. Ruddy remembers telling Mr. Aglialoro, in explaining why he should let Mr. Ruddy try again.
In the last few months, Mr. Ruddy said, Mr. Aglialoro agreed, clearing the way for what Mr. Ruddy now expects to become a six- or eight-hour television version of the novel — ideally, for a world-ranging Netflix-type streaming service.
Mr. Ruddy has telegraphed the idea that he wants to make “Atlas Shrugged” once again a story about the future–that means possibly updating some of the technological achievements of the story’s protagonists. Or, in other words, changing the story.
Luckily, Ayn Rand is not spinning in her grave, for as she said of death, “But we aren’t corpses in graves. We are not there. Don’t you understand when this life is finished, you’re not there. What I’ve always thought was a sentence from some Greek philosopher…’I will not die. It’s the world that will end’ and it’s absolutely true.”