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March 31, 2009

Hollywood Goes Galt: Your Vote for Dagny Taggart

by Stephen Gordon

julia_robertsAngelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts or Anne Hathaway?

Here’s the background from The Hollywood Reporter:

Hollywood could soon be going Objectivist.

After decades in development hell, Ayn Rand’s capitalism-minded “Atlas Shrugged” is taking new steps toward the big screen — with one of the film world’s most prominent money men potentially at its center.

Ryan Kavanaugh’s Relativity Media is circling the Baldwin Entertainment project and could come aboard to finance with Lionsgate, which got involved several years ago.

Rand’s popular but polarizing book — it’s derided by many literary critics but has a huge public following — tells the story of Dagny Taggart, a railroad executive trying to keep her corporation competitive in the face of what she perceives as a lack of innovation and individual responsibility.

A number of stars have expressed serious interest in playing the lead role of Taggart. Angelina Jolie previously had been reported as a candidate to play the strong female lead, but the list is growing and now includes Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts and Anne Hathaway.

Although it was written a half-century ago, producers say that the book’s themes of individualism resonate in the era of Obama, government bailouts and stimulus packages — making this the perfect time to bring the 1,100-page novel to the big screen.

“This couldn’t be more timely,” said Karen Baldwin, who along with husband Howard is producing, with film industry consultant John Logigian advising on the project. “It’s uncanny what Rand was able to predict — about the only things she didn’t anticipate are cell phones and the Internet.”

Not that I’d kick any of them from my private little Tea Party, but I think Julia Roberts may play the role the best.  I love Jolie, but she may a bit too glamorous.  I always pictured Dagny as attractive, well-spoken, but very practical.  Sexy at times, common sense at others, bright and hard working always.  This seems to describe Roberts to a T.  I snagged this photo from Best Google Images, as I can picture Dagny looking like this (at the rare moment when her sleeves aren’t all rolled up) while hanging around for a while in Galt’s Gulch.

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  1. I’m still going for Angelina Jolie for the BJLs.

    Comment by RandRoid — March 31, 2009 @ 11:15 pm
  2. Gillian Andreson? Strong, rational, and a red-head.

    Comment by rue — April 1, 2009 @ 12:06 am
  3. I don’t know her politics, but I’ve always had a spot in my heart (well, actually a lower organ) for Gillian. I don’t think (met her once at some Hollywood event) that she’s a natural redhead, though. I could be wrong, as women tend to confuse me with eyebrow makeup.

    Comment by Stephen Gordon — April 1, 2009 @ 12:12 am
  4. Hilary Swank, Julia or Jodi Foster

    Comment by Richard — April 1, 2009 @ 1:21 am
  5. Jolie for Lillian Reardon, Christina Ricci for James Taggart’s wife, Roberts for that bit part of the great actress we saw in Galt’s Gulch.

    Dagny? I have no idea, but Jodi Foster doesn’t have enough chin and Hilary Swank has made the career choice to not be girly-girly. Jennifer Garner maybe?

    Comment by Merf — April 1, 2009 @ 5:33 am
  6. Jewel Staite.

    Comment by Thomas L. Knapp — April 1, 2009 @ 5:37 am
  7. Although she’s not enough of a star to get the role, I have always thought Claire Forlani would make an excellent Dagny.

    Comment by Arthur — April 1, 2009 @ 7:35 am
  8. Stephen:

    If you would have mentioned Paris Hilton, that would have been a great April Fool’s choice.

    At first glance at the photo, I thought it was a picture of Kimberly Williams-Paisley (of “According to Jim” fame). She could be an interesting choice.

    If we are going strictly by appearance and/or acting ability, I would say any of the above would be fine.

    Comment by Stephen Littau — April 1, 2009 @ 10:44 am
  9. Various descriptions of Dagny from the book:

    “Her leg, sculptured by the tight sheen of the stocking, its long line running straight, over an arched instep, to the tip of a foot in a high-heeled pump, had a feminine elegance that seemed out of place in the dusty train car and oddly incongruous with the rest of her. She wore a battered camel’s hair coat that had been expensive, wrapped shapelessly about her slender, nervous body. The coat collar was raised to the slanting brim of her hat. A sweep of brown hair fell back, almost touching the line of her shoulders. Her face was made of angular planes, the shape of her mouth clear-cut, a sensual mouth held closed with inflexible precision. She kept her hands in the coat pockets, her posture taut, as if she resented immobility, and unfeminine, as if she were unconscious of her own body and that it was a woman’s body.”

    “Few people liked her face: the face was too cold, the eyes too intense; nothing could ever lend her the charm of a soft focus. The beautiful legs, slanting down from the chair’s arm in the center of his vision, annoyed him; they spoiled the rest of his estimate.”

    And as a girl:

    “Dagny was only a figure hurrying in and out of the apartment, a slim figure in a leather jacket, with a raised collar, a short skirt and long show-girl legs. She walked, cutting across a room, with a masculine, straight-line abruptness, but she had a peculiar grace of motion that was swift, tense and oddly, challengingly feminine.”

    From these, I still prefer an actress that can carry off the intensity of purpose of the character. A pretty idiot wouldn’t be able to do it. My personal preference would be someone like Jodi Foster.

    Comment by Akston — April 1, 2009 @ 10:48 am
  10. From a woman’s point of view, tired of Jolie and Roberts. Maybe bring in a no name actress? As for Gillian, I don’t know about her real hair color, but she was a red head even back when she was on the soap As the World Turns.

    Comment by Aimee — April 1, 2009 @ 11:28 am
  11. Both Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Claire Forlani are too “pretty.”

    Dagny Taggart has to be played by someone who can act so well that you do not notice what she looks like.

    For those of you who have seen Harry Potter 5, think about the woman who played Dolores Umbridge. She is actually a very attractive woman, but she acts so well that past the first minute, you can no longer see her prettiness of face, all you can see is the ugliness of her character.

    Comment by Merf — April 1, 2009 @ 1:27 pm
  12. Angelina Jolie, because Dagny Taggart must be strong on screen. Just watch “Girl, Interrupted”.
    And she can get the movie to be made, since even a hard (though excellent) movie such as Changeling has made > $110 million in worldwide box office.

    Other three don’t have same screen power.

    Other real candidate is outside of the list, and she’s Jodie Foster.

    Comment by Fabi — April 1, 2009 @ 4:25 pm
  13. Katee Sackhoff. No contest.

    Comment by Some Guy — April 1, 2009 @ 8:23 pm
  14. Tom Knapp,

    Jewel Staite is hot, but she’s no Dagny Taggart. The only view I have in my mind for a Dagny Taggart is more strong, rugged, and angular than Jewel Staite, who is very conventionally pretty.

    Of those listed, I think Julia Roberts fits the bill the best. But even so, she’s too much…

    I’m thinking Rene Russo.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 1, 2009 @ 8:34 pm
  15. Katee Sackhoff would work better than any other named so far.

    Rene Russo could pull it off, but given that the character is in her thirties and Russo is now 55 . . .

    If Angelina Jolie didn’t have such big lips, she might work, but as it is, it is hard to forget what she looks like long enough to see what the character she is playing looks like. So far, this hasn’t been a problem, but with Dagny, it would.

    Comment by Merf — April 1, 2009 @ 8:50 pm
  16. see my comment

    Comment by VRB — April 2, 2009 @ 2:59 pm
  17. Ashley Judd?

    Comment by Aimee — April 2, 2009 @ 8:11 pm
  18. Ashley Judd is another good choice.

    Comment by Akston — April 2, 2009 @ 8:47 pm
  19. Ashley Judd might actually work. She’s a good, strong actress who does not rely on her looks rather than her acting ability — which she actually has.

    Comment by Merf — April 2, 2009 @ 10:19 pm
  20. Ashley Judd might be a pretty good option.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — April 3, 2009 @ 2:08 pm
  21. Cate Blanchett

    Comment by kevin — April 7, 2009 @ 9:10 am

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