There’s no denying that Ayn Rand and her Objectivist philosophy of “rational self-interest” have gone a long way toward shaping our culture and politics, for better or for worse. But as we learned with Atlas Shrugged Part I, even fame and influence have their limits. The movie landed on the market with a dull thud, leaving Part II in jeopardy.

Producers Harmon Kaslow and John Aglialoro soldiered on, however, compiling a new cast and hiring a new director for the second part of his adaptation. The Duncan Scott-directed Part II stars Samantha Mathis (taking over for Taylor Schilling) as railroad exec Dagny Taggart, Jason Beghe (replacing Grant Bowler) as steel owner Henry Rearden, Esai Morales (stepping up for Jsu Garcia) as mining heir Francisco d’Anconia, and D.B. Sweeney (subbing in for Paul Johanssen) as the mysterious John Galt. Richard T. Jones, Patrick Fabian, Kim Rhodes, and Ray Wise also star. Watch the new trailer after the jump.


[via The Film Stage]

If nothing else, Part II at least looks a little more expensive and polished than Part I did, maybe because the producers didn’t have to rush this one into production at the last possible second. But it still looks like a far cry from well-crafted drama, and there’s really no getting around that graceless dialogue. If you weren’t a Rand devotee before, this seems unlikely to change your mind.

Although the first leg of Atlas Shrugged was a resounding disappointment (even to diehard Randians), the second half could benefit from its good timing. Objectivism and its founder received a flurry of media attention earlier this summer when presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked Rand fan Paul Ryan as his running mate, and the story’s strongly political bent could entice voters looking to further explore Rand’s philosophies. If it’s as shoddily made as the first one, though, even that may not be enough.

Atlas Shrugged: Part II opens October 12.

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