After I wrote my post about Angelina Jolie being cast in “Atlas Shrugged”, Variety reported that Randall Wallace, writer of “Braveheart” and “Pearl Harbor”, and writer-director of “Man in the Iron Mask” and “We Were Soldiers”, will write and direct “Atlas Shrugged”.
I am only familiar with “Braveheart”, which was decent, and heroic, if somewhat convoluted and ultimately conveying a tragic/malevolent-universe view. I have also heard that “Man in the Iron Mask” was worthwhile. But “Pearl Harbor” was considered mediocre and historically inaccurate by most critics and people I know who saw it. Because of the less than ideal “Braveheart” and the fact that Wallace majored in religion at Duke University, I am less enthusiastic about him than I was about James V.Hart as the screenwriter. For example, I suspect that all of the explicitly atheisticandanti-religionideas willbe removed from the story.
However, James V.Hart is still listed on www.IMDB.com under “Atlas Shrugged” as one of the writers along with Wallace, so perhaps they are collaborating, which may help the overall script quality and faithfulness to the novel.
The good news is that Wallace is as Hollywood “establishment” as they come, moresuccessfulthan Hart, and with Angelina Jolie automatically makes “Atlas Shrugged” seen as a major motion picture with great box office expectations (by those people who don’t already know how commercial the story is even without famous names attached). The two of them also assurea huge amount of publicity. Wallace’s association with the currently friendless Mel Gibson in two films, and with the highly successful but critically berated “Pearl Harbor”, may bring negative publicity, but publicity the movie will get.
Interestingly, Jon Voight, Angelina’s father, played President Roosevelt in “Pearl Harbor”.
P.S. I just found this quote from co-executive producerKaren Baldwin saying “Atlas Shrugged” may not be a trilogy, and that Randall Wallace washired to revise the screenplay,but may not be the director:
“We’ve hired Randall Wallace (“Braveheart,” “We Were Soldiers”), and he’s going to revise the script, so we’re letting Randy and his writing determine how many movies there will be…Ideally we’d like to have the script so we could be in preproduction in the spring.” She added that a director won’t beconfirmed for the Lionsgate project until the script is complete.
I dislike thepremise that the decision on one versus three filmsis at the mercy of Randall Wallace’s desires. This means the producers are giving Wallace the power to make decisions the producers should be making. Clearly a single film is not going to be adequate to convey even a tiny percentage of the story. I think Wallace’s clout will cloud the minds of the producers.
If Wallace wants a bigger payday he will want to write three screenplays, so there is the hope thatwill be an incentive towards a trilogy.
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