As we have long pointed out, this movie is upcoming in the same sense that the migration of the San Bernardino Mountains into downtown L.A. is upcoming. If your time scale is long enough, you can mark your calendar, but don't expect either the mountains or the movie to hit your doorstep anytime soon.
Evidence that we're right is found on the Atlas Society's own site. (And by the way, shouldn't it be the Atlas Shrugged Society? That's A.S.S. for short.) Anyway, just click on "Current News" and you find yourself reading this breaking news story:
Angelina Jolie set to star in Atlas Shrugged
It's official: Angelina Jolie is set to star in the film adaptation of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. David Kelley, Founder and Senior Fellow of The Atlas Society (TAS) confirmed with producer Howard Baldwin that Jolie is "signed, sealed and delivered."
Woo-hoo! With super-mega-ultra-movie star/celebrity/diplomadonna Jolie on board, nothing can stop the Atlas express now!
But wait. This "current news" item is dated September 21, 2006.
Duuuuude. That was like, two years ago, man. Hasn't Jolie made at least three major flops since then? If she could find time to play Fox in Wanted between squeezing out babies, couldn't she fit Dagny Taggart into her schedule?
Even worse for Atlasphiles, this is the latest - in fact, the only - "current news" on the site.
For fun, we clicked on "Archive," where we found the exact same news item about the anorexic home wrecker. Previous archived stories offer breathless headlines like "Atlas Movie One Step Closer! The Inside Scoop," and "Film Company to Bring Atlas Shrugged to the Screen!" The latter is dated May 13, 2003.
2003? Bush was still in his first term. He hadn't even started pulverizing our economy yet.
Now, we may be only a resuscitated Aztec mummy on a mission to mock Objectivism, but even we know that if there were any heat behind this movie, it would have shown some progress over a period of five years. Instead, there's been no significant news other than the signing of Brad Pitt's creepily tattooed and disturbingly gaunt corpse-bride. Screenwriters have come and gone; plans for a Lord of the Rings style trilogy have been trumpeted, then scrapped; claims have been made of serious interest from a bevy of bona fide stars (none of whom have materialized); a director (with two bombs to his credit) was hired and then let go; and now the project appears to be languishing permanently in Development Hell.
Who could have predicted it? Oh, RandZapper, that's who. Not to toot our own horn or anything.
At this point, the only thing the Atlas movie is good for is playing pretend-casting games (as witness this Wall Street Journal Online waste of time from last April). And it provides an opportunity for Rand fans to sound off on whether the book should be dramatized as a movie or miniseries.
Here's a thought: how about neither?
There is actually just one format that would do true justice to the depth, insight, complexity and intellectualism of Ayn Rand's epic vision. Yes, that's right - we're talking about a comic book. (Or, for you bluenoses, a graphic novel.)
We can picture it now, Atlas Shrugged the comic, written and illustrated by Objectivist nutjob Steve Ditko. Price: $95, payable in gold bullion only. Binding: the gold-embossed pelts of baby harp seals, pasted together with glue made from past Kentucky Derby winners. Length: 4000 pages. Galt's speech alone would run 250 pages, since (obviously) not one bejeweled word of this magisterial summation of the Randian worldview can be omitted. Would you cut the Bible? Well, would ya, punk?
So our advice to all the Objectivists dutifully awaiting the debut of their nonexistent and never-to-be-existent movie is this: Pool your pennies and hire Ditko to pen-and-ink your favorite novel.
Or failing that, sharpen your Crayolas and get to work yourselves.
(They do let you have Crayolas in mental institutions, don't they?)