Skip to content

“Atlas Shrugged” Movie to Remain Faithful to Spirit of “Atlas Shrugged,” Be Terrible

OMG, you guys! Filming on the Atlas Shrugged major motion picture event has begun! Atlas Shrugged, of course, is the massively popular mid-20th century X-Men prequel in which a team of misfit billionaires endowed with mutant powers of Capitalism band together under the leadership of John Galt to defeat Communism by… running away? From it? I guess? I don’t know. For all the answers, you’d have to  read the book. Which is over a thousand pages long, with only roughly nine million of those pages being devoted to extensive and poorly informed speeches about economic policy. OR, you could take a look at my rejected screenplay! Which, fortunately, I am re-printing for you right now:








DAGNY TAGGART, MULTI-MILLIONAIRE INDUSTRIALIST/LADY: I would also like to know the answer to that question!


DAGNY TAGGART: Ohhhh, so sexy!


HANK REARDON: And yet, I still wonder: Who is John Galt?


DAGNY TAGGART: Damn you! I loved you once!


(Flashback: A young Francisco D’Anconia and a young Dagny Taggart are in love.)



HANK REARDON: Seriously, though. Who is John Galt?

SOME GUY: Surprise, it’s me! And I hate poor people!

DAGNY TAGGART: I am in love with you now. You represent my ideal.



Anyway, this movie: It is gonna suuuuuuuuuck. The Atlas Shrugged movie, once attached to Angelina Jolie and/or Charlize Theron and/or several actors you might actually have heard of at one point, has been reduced to a rush project with a $5 million budget (for context: I was watching the Se7en commentary track recently — don’t ask — and David Fincher complained about only having something like fifty thousand dollars for the title sequence), backed primarily by the CEO of an exercise equipment company, with the leads being played by some lady from a show called Mercy and that one Ugly Betty dude, and directed by — and starring! As John Galt! — Paul Johansson.

Who is Paul Johansson, you ask? (Haha. REFERENCES.) Well! He is lots of things! For one, continuing the theme of “every single person in Atlas Shrugged being somebody from a TV show I don’t watch,” he is a dude who was once on One Tree Hill. For another, he is the director of precisely two feature-length projects, apparently, in his entire life, one of those things being so obscure that it is not even on his Wikipedia page, and the other thing being a TV movie. (For which, to be fair, he won a Daytime Emmy for “Outstanding Directing in a Children/Youth/Family Special.” That should really help him with all the rough sex scenes in Atlas Shrugged!) For three, ACK GAH GIANT FACE:

Egyptian Theatre

Whoa! SLOW DOWN THERE, Mega-Face. You know, I’d really think that casting someone with roughly 150% of the normal allotment of face would be a liability for this project. After all, a tremendous amount of the plot hinges on people not recognizing John Galt, or on people (spoiler!) wondering who he is. Casting someone with such a distinctively, um, huge face really changes the central question of the book, from “who is John Galt” to “who is that dude with THE GIGANTIC PORK SHOULDER FOR A HEAD???”

Anyway! Here is a fourth and even more fun thing to know about director/star of Atlas Shrugged Paul Johansson: He has the most ridiculous resume of all time. His IMDB page is a trove of wonders! Goofy, embarrassing, shameful wonders. Especially if you really hate Atlas Shrugged. For example, here’s a game I like to play at home, called, “What Is the Most Embarrassingly Terrible-Sounding Project Paul Johansson Has Ever Been Involved With?” Your options are!

(A) Wishmaster 2: Evil Never Dies. (Plot: “The evil Djinn is awakened once more, and must collect 1001 souls to begin the Apocalypse.”)

(B) Berserker. (Plot: “A warlord’s son is cursed to be reborn lifetime after lifetime and fated to love and lose until the curse is lifted.”)

(C) Highlander: The Raven. (Plot: “A female Immortal and thief tries to redeem herself with the help of an ex-cop.” And gets cancelled really, really quickly, apparently.)

(D) The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day. (Plot: “The MacManus brothers are living a quiet life in Ireland with their father, but when they learn their beloved…” You know what? It’s a fucking Boondock Saints movie. The SEQUEL.)

(E) Toxic. (Plot: “The lives of a nightclub owner, a crime boss, a stripper, a bartender, two hitmen, a prostitute and a psychic take a turn for the worse when they are trapped in an escaped mental patient’s sinister path of madness and destruction.”)

(F) Martial Law II: Undercover. (Plot: “No summary.”)

What do you think, home viewing audience? Which of these is The Most Embarassingly Terrible-Sounding Project Paul Johansson Has Ever Been Involved With?

Haha, just kidding. The most embarrassingly terrible-sounding project Paul Johansson has ever been involved with is, of course, Atlas Shrugged.


  1. Erin wrote:

    JT wasn’t saying that article was feminist. He was just providing me the link. I’m not arguing that she is feminist either, but just based on her novels (haven’t read her other stuff), her views of gender aren’t as bad as most ‘philosophers’ I’ve read. And I think things can be taken from her novels that aren’t as extreme as what objectives take from them, so I don’t see why everyone either dimisses them completely, or becomes some crazy ass objectivist.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 10:10 am | Permalink
  2. Samantha b. wrote:

    Erin, I would argue that if you’re going to structure a philosophy, internal consistency is a pretty valuable feature. If it isn’t systematic, I don’t how legitimately you can call it a philosophy anymore. And, if you want to defend Objectivism as somewhat useful, it would be helpful to point specifically to what it is that you find valuable. Otherwise it makes your analysis awfully hard to evaluate.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink
  3. JT wrote:

    No, no, no, I swear, the article is NOT feminist. That becomes apparent toward the end, as I read with dismay. It took me by surprise because there was a lot of feminist insight in the first half. So, sorry about that. My bad, should have read the whole thing first. But, my goal was to highlight Rand’s essentialism and anti-feminism, and I succeeded.

    Oh, and I’m a lady.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink
  4. JT wrote:

    @Erin, it’s a philosophy that has no place for me. Man, and ONLY man, can ever achieve that “ideal human” status Rand talked about. Woman’s role is to be his helpmate and worshipper. SHE can never be the ideal human.

    It doesn’t really matter what else she says. I will not live my life to “hero-worship” anyone, thanks. It’s the same kind of attitude you see in religion, which also turns me off. For all the good lessons that might be hidden in Objectivism or the Bible, I am still Woman and therefore unable to attain the highest state of being (according to them).

    Feminism (though not a religion OR a philosophy like Objectivism) is the only thing I’ve ever read that tells me I am a human being who is just as worthy as any male. I won’t be defined by my biology.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 11:36 am | Permalink
  5. raddad wrote:

    Just last week some of my FB friends were looking at:Plugging the Gulf oil leak with the works of Ayn Rand.
    I like the comment that Ayn Rand is like Nietzsche for stupid people (though I liked the Birth of Tragedy)

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 2:26 pm | Permalink
  6. Amy wrote:

    I’m in the minority here in that I do kinda despise her. And I’ve only read her fiction.

    I think it’s important to remember that her characters in The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged are Mary Sues. Like many conservative women, she didn’t think the rules applied to her. “The Passion of Ayn Rand” is a great biographical movie that explores this. Helen Mirren is fantastic.

    My problems with The Fountainhead and what I could stomach of Atlas Shrugged: There is only one woman who is beautiful and intelligent enough to join the boys’ club. Let’s take Dominique: she is really the only woman. She marries someone else just to try to break Roark. She’s wrong to do this, of course. The entire book is about Dominique learning to become the woman that Roar needs her to be. While she has a career at the beginning, her ultimate achievement is in becoming a naked object and marrying Roark. Oh, and there’s that whole part where he rapes her early in the book, but she secretly wants it. Let’s not forget her utter disdain for the unwashed masses in Atlas Shrugged. I get enough bad stuff from her fiction that I never needed to read her non-fiction.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink
  7. Erin wrote:


    Thanks for the movie suggestion. That sounds interesting.

    “There is only one woman who is beautiful and intelligent enough to join the boys’ club.”

    That’s a really good point, I had not noticed that.

    I might re-read Atlas Shrugged to see everything I missed, or everything I’ve forgotten. Or I’ll wait for the movie…

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 10:11 am | Permalink
  8. Erin wrote:

    Oh, and I didn’t miss or forget the rape in The Fountainhead. It was just kinda similar to a sexual fantasy found in like every harlequin romance written before the 90s, so I just thought of it as an unfortunate product of earlier times. Jezebel has a great article about that phenomenon, and if I could find it, I would link it!

    Though I completely understand why people have problems with Rand because of that scene. That is completely legitimate. I’m just explaining why I don’t.

    Friday, June 18, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink
  9. Genevieve wrote:

    @Christianne: I had a Creative Writing professor once who said that if a writer has a character talking for a significant length of time (and I think his cutoff point was two paragraphs) and the writer agrees with every single bit of what hir character is saying, then there’s something wrong; it has ceased being literature and morphed into propaganda. So when I read your comment about 70-page speeches, the first thing I thought was damn, would my professor ever hate that.

    There are ways of getting one’s message across which do not rely on one character talking at everyone else.

    Wednesday, June 23, 2010 at 9:39 pm | Permalink
  10. ginger wrote:

    i dont know who you are at all – but you REALLY made me laugh

    ahhhahahahah pork shoulder im dying. thank you. thank you for this.

    Thursday, June 24, 2010 at 5:28 am | Permalink

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] It appears lefties already have their panties in a wad. What are they afraid of? An anti-big government message making it to the big screen? That in […]