ARI’s mission is to promote the books and philosophy of Ayn Rand. Atlas Shrugged is Rand’s magnum opus, a gripping mystery story that is also the most radical and challenging book of ideas of the twentieth century. It has changed numerous lives for the better, and we promote the book extensively. (ARI receives no revenue from the sales of Atlas Shrugged or any other book by Ayn Rand.)
I saw that ARI was thanked in the credits of the first Atlas Shrugged movie. What was ARI’s involvement with that movie and subsequent installment?
ARI had very minimal involvement with the first movie, and all of it occurred after the movie had been produced. (ARI does not own the production rights to a movie of Atlas Shrugged and also does not hold the copyright to the book itself.) ARI had no involvement with the second movie.
Will ARI be promoting Atlas Shrugged while the new movie is out?
Of course. We are eager for as many new people as possible to encounter Ayn Rand and to pick up Atlas Shrugged and discover within its pages its unusual characters and heroes, its intriguing mystery and plot, and its challenging ideas. Many readers describe reading Atlas Shrugged as a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and we want as many people as possible to enjoy that experience.
To whatever extent the movie leads people to talk about Ayn Rand, her philosophy and the continuing relevance of Atlas Shrugged, our experts are eager to join the discussion.
Does the movie capture the full scope of the book?
They don’t. Atlas Shrugged is a novel of more than a
thousand pages, containing an intricate plot, unique characters, new ideas and
a profound theme. The book is a masterpiece, and its panoramic scope presents a
real challenge to anyone trying to adapt it to the screen. Whatever one thinks
of the movies and however positive
one’s personal response may have been to some aspects of them, the movies
are no masterpieces.
For instance, the movies are much more conventional than is Atlas
Shrugged. In the first movie, the basic conflict is political: a
conflict between corrupt politicians and businessmen trying to run their
companies and make a profit. In the book, the basic conflict is moral and
philosophical: how thinkers and creators of all types accept and support the
moral and philosophical ideas that dominate today’s culture—and how
those very ideas lead to the creators’ exploitation and destruction. To
change their fate, they have to change their ideas. In other words, Atlas
Shrugged is a book that challenges widely held ideas at the deepest
level. Its focus is not on political corruption. Rather, its focus is on the moral and
philosophical ideas and ideals, accepted in some form by almost everyone, that
lead to (among other things) today’s corrupt politics.
One result of the first movie’s superficial treatment of the
book’s focus is that the movie dramatically alters characters and
dialogue. To name but one of many instances, in the book, Hank Rearden is
profoundly conflicted about Dagny Taggart: he is at once passionately attracted
to her and yet repulsed by his sexual attraction to her and hers to him. In the
movie, their relationship is not simply omitted; rather, it is included but
presented as a run-of-the-mill affair. Yet the fact that Hank Rearden feels
deeply conflicted over Dagny is central to understanding his character,
motivation and unhappiness. In the novel he learns that there is a profound
connection between the guilt he experiences in his romantic life and the guilt
he is supposed to experience for his devotion to business—and that this
connection points to a key reason why the creators have allowed themselves to
be damned and victimized.
Now to find out exactly how this plays out—and to discover all the ways in which the novel’s characters and events have been altered—read the book!