Netflix and Wild West Productions announced this morning that Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” will begin production on a 10 episode season set to debut on the streaming service in spring of 2016. The novel just underwent an adaptation across three feature films released to mostly negative reviews over the past four years. Producers for this version have made it clear their intention on using the long-form television format to honor Rand’s magnum opus that, from conception to release, took the author 14 years to complete. Producers are hopeful they can secure at least a three season run of 30 one hour episodes so that they can explore every avenue the epic story can offer. One has to wonder how many episodes it will take for John Galt to deliver that radio speech that runs about 60-90 pages, depending on which version of the book you read.
Producers have attached Randall Wallace (Braveheart) to write and direct the first episode of series. Wallace is no stranger to “Atlas Shrugged” as he was once hired to re-write the film version many years ago during the first of several failed attempts at getting the film made. While the film versions finally made their way to cinemas more recently, they were plagued with multiple cast changes over all three installments which no doubt led to rotten tomato status across the board. Producers have assured fans that “[the] cast you get in episode one will be the same as you get in the series finale.” Speaking of the cast…
Soon to be 30 year old British actress Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) is attached to play Dagny Taggert. Mad Men‘s Jon Hamm is jumping right from his signature roll of ad man Don Draper into steel tycoon Hank Reardon. Long time character actor Clifton Collins Jr. (Capote) will portray Dagny’s childhood first love Francisco d’Anconia. The role of John Galt has yet to be announced. Producer Alan Smithe says “We are going to hold off on that for now. For one, we don’t have a Galt yet, but even when we do close the deal, we may decide to let audiences discover Galt by watching.”
Filming is set to take place mostly in Nashville, TN. While most may assume New York, Chicago or even Los Angeles would be better suited, the producers like the idea of giving audiences an environment with “buildings and landmarks that they are not used to seeing all too often in film and television.” They considered shooting outside of the U.S. in Vancouver, British Columbia or Toronto and even in Australia, but ultimately felt that staying in the United States was better for PR. Wild West Productions first foray into television was with the TBS sitcom Sullivan & Sons (2012-2014). Wild West Productions is run by actors Vince Vaughn and Peter Billingsly.
The official teaser announcement was also released today.