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.

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Remember when producer John Aglialoro had only four weeks to put a film based on Ayn Rand‘s novel Atlas Shrugged into production? He had owned the option for years, and if he didn’t get a film moving by summer 2010 he was going to lose it. Aglialoro had one director hired, Stephen Polk, and a script he co-wrote with Brian Patrick O’Toole. But Polk was fired at the last minute, and Paul Johansson (One Tree Hill), who was also hired to play John Galt, ended up directing.

The film… didn’t do well. Actually, it did OK at first when targeted at a very specific audience, based only on that audience’s interest in seeing Rand’s novel hit the screen. But even people predisposed to love Atlas Shrugged saw the film as a rushed, inferior product. Given the themes of Rand’s over-arching philosophy, we call that “irony.”

But, as promised last July by producer Harmon Kaslow, Atlas Shrugged: Part 2 went before cameras anyway, with a new cast and new director. Duncan Scott directs, and now Samantha Mathis takes over for Taylor Schilling as Dagny Taggart; Jason Beghe plays Henry Rearden; and D.B. Sweeney replaces Johansson as John Galt.

A teaser trailer for the film is now available, and you can watch the latest episode of this years-in-the-making multi-film trainwreck below. But the teaser doesn’t show much of the new cast, and proves that this installment will be aimed squarely at the Fox News / tea party audience that Aglialoro courted the first time out. Read More »

After Atlas Shrugged: Part 1 tanked both critically and commercially, producer John Aglialoro said publicly that he was having second thoughts about making the sequels. Film critics and moviegoers breathed a sigh of relief, and all but the most die-hard Ayn Rand fans moved on with their lives.

Now, however, Aglialoro seems to be feeling a renewed sense of optimism. According to producer Harmon Kaslow, Aglialoro is back at work on Part 2 of the trilogy, due out in time for next year’s election season. Read more after the jump.

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Next time someone talks about how critics don’t matter (it’s bound to happen with the summer movie wave encroaching) just point to Atlas Shrugged: Part I. The miserable-looking partial adaptation of Ayn Rand‘s massive novel has taken in a paltry few million in the past two weeks, with a near-50% drop-off between weekends.

Now producer John Aglialoro, who spent years trying to make the film, says he might abandon his plans to continue the adaption with two more movies. And while there’s a part of me that wants to accept the overwhelming commercial power of the movie critic, in this case I have to wonder if Atlas Shrugged wasn’t actually done in by the fact of being a lousy movie. Read More »

There’s another odd wrinkle to the story about producer John Aglialoro hastily getting an Atlas Shrugged film into production in order to retain rights to the novel. When we reported on the film a few weeks back, Stephen Polk was set to direct. But yesterday, when we got info about the film actually going into production over the weekend, there was a new director: actor Paul Johansson, who is also starring. So what happened to Polk? No surprise that he was sacked, and you should be even less surprised to read that he’s rather pissed. Read More »

Ritz Carlton

Atlas is finally shrugging towards theater screens. A few weeks ago we told you that producer John Aglialoro was going to get a feature version of Ayn Rand‘s novel together come hell or high water. And, indeed, cameras started to roll on Atlas Shrugged Part One over the weekend. Who are the star and director? Same guy: Paul Johansson, of the TV show One Tree Hill. Read More »

atlas-shrugged1

Can a film be pushed into production through sheer force of will? Over the decades there have been multiple attempts to film Ayn Rand‘s novel Atlas Shrugged. In the last decade the movie has almost been made a couple of times, but plans have always fallen through.

Now producer John Aglialoro, who bought the book rights for $1m in 1992, will make the film one way or the other. He plans to shoot on June 11. The only problem: he’s got no cast. Read More »

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