Yesterday afternoon, I went to see the new movie Atlas Shrugged. It's based on the tome of the same name by Ayn Rand. After the Bible, it ranks as the book people say has been the most influential on their lives. Count me in that group. I've read it all the way through - twice.
I have eagerly awaited the film adaptation of one of my favorite books for years. To fully cover all the aspects of this classic coming to film will take more than one blog post. Today, I start by reviewing the cast.
As my friend Brandon (who, along with his wife, the famous Karly attended with me yesterday afternoon) said, the actors aren't going to win any Academy Awards. In fact, my favorite character in the movie (who I could have SWORN was Richard Roxborough) was most recently playing "Cooter" the werewolf on True Blood last season. No lie. I thought he did a good job.
The chick that played Dagny was extremely wooden. In the book, she is passionate - supremely passionate - about her work and her work ethic. In this rendition, she was mildly interested. Maybe she was Dagny on too many antidepressants. Granted, according to the book, she is an engineer, so maybe they were going for "dorky math geek", but that was the wrong call. I mean, I am an ACCOUNTANT for crying out loud and I actually think I would have made a better Dagny.
Ellis Wyatt was played by the same guy who played Dick Stenzlin in LA Confidential. At least I recognized him. I thought he was a little bit overplayed, to be perfectly honest. You can do larger-than-life without screaming so much.
James Taggert's character was also kind of middle of the road. He needed a touch more righteous indignation mixed in with his desperation. He is the second most pitiful character from the book with Hank Reardon's brother winning that particular contest.
The dude who played Wesley Mauch was spot on. He sounds intelligent. His manner invites trust and comfort in his words...unless you are actually listening and comprehending what he is saying. As my Mama always said, the devil isn't the ugly horned creature you see at Halloween - he's smooth and attractive. Not that this old dude was attractive. His words were "comforting". All the talk about "equality" and "fairness" and "balance" sounds nice. In actuality, its anything but.
But I digress into the message. This post is meant to deal with the acting.
Finally, the cruelest cut of all. The casting of John Galt.
When reading the book, I always envisioned Leonardo DiCaprio as Galt. In the book, he is practically made of gold. A demigod, he is strong, attractive, intelligent and forthright. So, who did they cast to be the shadowy, hat-wearing John Galt in the movie?
For those of you unfamiliar with One Tree Hill, he also played John Sears on 90210. Both characters are smarmy asses. In real life, the man's name is Paul Johannsen.
Now, I make no judgement on Mr. Johansen himself. I am sure he is a perfectly lovely person. In fact, he is a very nice looking man. Unfortunately, I can't block out his past as John Sears/Dan Scott (and "Bolt" from Soapdish - deep cut right there).
Now, I did read today that he might be replaced for "Atlas Shrugged - Part II and III". Let's hope Leo climbs on board.