The producers of a new movie based on Ayn Rand's classic libertarian novel "Atlas Shrugged" say its theme of rebellion against intrusive government paints an eerily accurate picture of socialistic forces in modern America under the Obama administration.
"The film is about now," Harmon Kaslow, producer of "Atlas Shrugged Part 1,” tells Newsmax. "Look around, you see the Middle East imploding, you see gas prices skyrocketing, you see the government interfering with business. These were all themes that were part of the book and are also now part of the movie.
"There's so many parallels," he says. “It's almost haunting how similar what [Rand] wrote 50 years ago is to what's actually taking place today."
Kaslow's co-producer, John Aglialoro, spent nearly 20 years researching Rand's work in preparation for the film. "Atlas Shrugged Part 1," the first in a planned trilogy, opens in select theaters on April 15.
The move faithfully recreates Rand's 1957 story of powerful railroad executive Dagny Taggart and her struggles to keep her business alive while society crumbles around her. The movie stars Taylor Schilling, best known for her role as nurse Veronica Agnes Flanagan Callahan in the short-lived NBC television series “Mercy.”
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One of the most memorable characters in “Atlas Shrugged” is John Galt, played in the film by Paul Johansson, who also directs. Galt, a creator and inventor, symbolizes the idealistic power of the human mind -- the antithesis of the stifling, government-controlled social structure depicted in the story. Asked who best embodies the spirit of John Galt in America today, Kaslow says there's a little Galt in everyone who resists the forces of socialism.
"We all should be able to embrace what he represents and to proclaim that we are John Galt," Kaslow says. "It's a matter of having the intuition and the sense about what's going on, what's right, and the what role the government plays in your life.
"Recognize who the producers are and don't be afraid to not make capitalism a bad word," he adds. "Try to build a better and freer society."
Despite Hollywood's general distaste for the political messages in "Atlas Shrugged," Kaslow says there was surprisingly little resistance to getting the picture made on philosophical grounds. The scope of the film and the pressure to bring an American classic to the screen, however, were daunting for all involved.
"Certainly it took a lot of courage on the part of everyone to sign onto this movie," Kaslow says. "The epic nature of the novel [means] it will be a lasting legacy for everyone involved. That's perhaps the reason some studios were unable to greenlight this project."
Aglialoro, who financed the film and wrote the screenplay, says the project became a labor of love for him. "My wife said to me, 'It's going to be costly, but it will haunt you the rest of your life if you don't do it.' So I picked up my bags, went west, met Harmon, and miraculously, we were able to produce a first-rate film."
What does he want people to take from the film?
"I hope they believe that it's a liberation of the human spirit," Aglialoro says. "It certainly rewards those that have taken the time and effort to think and reflect on this eternal struggle between liberty and power. Thomas Jefferson said that government increases its hold and liberty yields.
"This is about the philosophical ideas and the underpinnings of the fight between liberty and power."
Visit atlasshruggedpart1.com for more information about the film.
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