‘One Tree Hill’ guy directs & stars in ‘Atlas Wanked’

Senior Editor
06.14.10 38 Comments

Strap in kids, this is a good story.

So a movie adaptation of Ayn Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged has been in development since 1972. Rand originally demanded script approval, but projects fell through when no one would give it to her. She began writing a screenplay of her own later, but when she died in 1982 with it still unfinished, she left the rights to her student Leonard Piekoff.  A couple false starts with Piekoff refusing to give script approval later, he sold the rights (including full creative control) to producer John Aglialoro for a million dollars in 1992.  Various mergers and corporate reshufflings killed a series of movie and miniseries plans.  Finally, this year, Aglialoro took a script he wrote with Brian Patrick O’Toole, and decided he would make a film independently come hell or high water.  He had planned to turn the book into four films (!), with Stephen Polk, son of a former MGM chairman, making his directing debut.  At some point in the last few weeks, he lost Polk.   According to his contract, he had to begin filming by Saturday or lose his option on the novel.

So begin filming he did.  And who stepped in at the last minute to direct and star in the project?  Why Paul Johansson (above left), of course, previously known as an actor and occasional director of One Tree Hill.  A perfectly logical choice.  Five weeks of shooting are scheduled on a $5 million budget.

Johansson plays John Galt, while the Dagny Taggart role went to Taylor Schilling from Mercy, and Henry Reardon is played by Grant Bowler from Ugly Betty and Lost. Also in the cast are Edi Gathegi, Jsu Garcia, Rebecca Wisocky, Ethan Cohn, Patrick Fischer, Neill Barry, Christina Pickles and Nikki Klecha. [/Film]

Yeah, I have no idea who those people are either.  I think a couple of them are just random collections of letters.  Nonetheless, I was able to obtain some early footage of Johansson’s Ayn Rand, and I must say it’s looking pretty good:

You have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to use that clip in a post.  Thank you, Paul Johansson.

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