Can Cameos By Tea Party Icons Help Third ‘Atlas Shrugged’ Film?
Despite the terrible reviews of the previous two films, director James Manera is pushing forward with the final movie in the trilogy adaptation of Ayn Rand’s pro-capitalism novel Atlas Shrugged, a work that has been embraced by the political right wing.
The trailer for the third film, Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?, has been released. It shows society on the verge of social and economic collapse, then presents John Galt (Kristoffer Polaha) as the man who can save the world by leading a revolt against the openly corrupt political system that places too many restrictions on businesses.
The first two Atlas Shrugged films received poor reviews from critics and tanked at the box office. The first film, which starred Orange Is the New Black’s Taylor Schilling before Orange Is the New Black, has an 11 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. “This comically tasteless and flavorless adaptation of Ayn Rand’s bombastic magnum opus delivers her simplistic nostrums with smug self-satisfaction,” said The New Yorker. That film made just $4.6 million at the box office, per Box Office Mojo. The second installment didn’t fare any better, with a 5 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a measly $3.3 million take at the box office.
Filmmakers are hoping that Who Is John Galt? will be aided by its release date — September 12, just weeks before a midterm election that could generate headlines and political fervor — as well as cameos from conservative politicians and personalities Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, and Sean Hannity. The Hollywood Reporter confirmed last month that the movie will be filled with Tea Party icons.
The first two movies were also released at times considered to be politically advantageous, which makes one wonder whether the third Atlas Shrugged movie will really do any better than its predecessors. Part I came out on tax day, April 15, 2011; and Atlas Shrugged II: The Strike on October 12, 2012, a month before the presidential election.
“Atlas Shrugged is a fantastic book, but it’s much more than a story — it’s a philosophy,” Paul told THR. “It’s influenced millions of people already and because of its greatness it’s going to continue to influence a lot of people.” This will mark Paul’s first willing appearance in a feature film, although he was famously duped into being interviewed by Sacha Baron Cohen for 2009′s Bruno.
The movie’s producer, Harmon Kaslow, told The Hollywood Reporter that both Paul and Beck would play television personalities and be allowed to ad lib a little while they respond to John Galt’s famous speech, which lasts 70 pages in the novel and outlines Ayn Rand’s entire Objectivist theory. “These are people who speak to our audience and all of them have shown an affinity for the book, so it made sense to reach out to them,” Kaslow said.
It remains to be seen if Tea Party celebrity appearances will help Atlas Shrugged III compete on the free market.
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