Scaled Back “Atlas Shrugged” Starts Shooting

For years there was talk of Angelina Jolie or Charlize Theron starring in the role of heroine Dagny Taggart in a film adaptation of "Atlas Shrugged," Ayn Rand's towering opus. Well, "Atlas" started shooting this week, and call it a hunch, buy the name Taylor Schilling up on the marquee won't sell as many tickets.

And nobody is more disappointed by this turn of events than Stephen Polk, who had been set to direct what was to be the first installment of a four-movie epic based on the 1,300+ page novel.

"They replaced me with a TV actor, this has TV written all over it. They’ve fired other people. I was trying to embrace the spirit of Atlas Shrugged, and it will be interesting to see if they can still pull it off," Polk told Deadline.

The "TV actor" in question is former "One Tree Hill" star Paul Johansson, who in addition to directing "Atlas," heads up a cast that includes Schilling (from NBC's "Mercy"), Michael Lerner and a bunch of other C-list talent.

Rand's fourth and final novel is said to be the second-most influential book ever published, trailing only the Bible. It tells the story of railroad exec Dagny Taggart, who becomes dismayed by the creep of the government into the private sector, while the mysterious John Galt leads a "strike" by the leading minds of the time in an effort to show how integral their profit-driven contributions to society are.

It really is a shame that this is probably going to end up as a Lifetime movie, because regardless of how you feel about the objectivist/libertarian philosophy and politics at its core, it is a crazy weird story that could've been wildly entertaining.

But, hey, maybe we're wrong. Maybe this is gonna be a big ol' bucket of awesome when it's done.

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