Many film makers have tried to come up with a movie version of Atlas Shrugged, without success. The enormous complexity of the novel stood in the way of a cinematic adaptation as an obstacle. Some independent film makers, however, have taken the responsibility on themselves finally. Libertas Film Magazine recently interviewed the director of the film, Paul Johansson. It was the first interview he did for the movie.
Excerpts from Paul Johansson’s words on the movie:
“It’s not a story about steel, it’s not a story about railroads, and it’s not a story about oil magnates or copper mines or all the other things that you see in this. This is a story about an ideology – about the way that you live.”
“Given the limited budget, I think it’s turning out pretty well. I have some structural problems with the story, you know, I didn’t write the script – but I’m trying to work it – I’m trying to make it work cinematically.”
“If it’s going to be a big epic movie with giant plane shots and special effects, which it isn’t, because this doesn’t have that kind of a budget – they’d lose the story in that. I decided it would be a movie about the people: their choices, their relationships with each other, and most importantly – themselves. And – that’s the movie that I want to make, based on what I have available to me.”
“You don’t tie yourself to “we’re going to hitch our wagon to whatever’s happening in the present day.” I would say that Ayn Rand was not doing that. She got a sense of what was happening [in the 50s] but she saw the future. [Rand] was saying “Look, 50 years from now, unions, and guilds, and things like that are going to be way more powerful than corporations – they’re going to make the calls – and that can’t support a capitalist society.” And she was right. And the laissez faire capitalism she was preaching doesn’t really work either, to be honest with you. People say it does, but that relies on Rousseau’s natural man theory.”
“This ["Atlas Shrugged"] isn’t a real world – this is a science fiction world because there is no world that is completely black and white. People aren’t just all bad Wesley Mouches or all good Henry Reardons. There’s no such thing as that. We have different shades of grey. And [as for Rand's] world, she had to create a very polarized vision of the way people lived. So I think of this book as an in-your-face way of saying, Who are you – and how do you live?”
“Rand uses a lot of things like good and evil in her text but I don’t think she really believed those ideas. It’s like what Oscar Wilde said. I don’t know the exact quote – he said that a book can either be poorly written or well written, but it can’t be evil.”