Atlas Shrugged Movie: Partial Cast

February 27, 2008 by  

It looks more and more likely that Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” will finally make it to the big screen. A recent interview estimates that it will do so in the Fall of 2009.

So far, I’ve only heard that Angelina Jolie had been cast to play the part of the novel’s heroine, Dagny Taggart. However, my understanding is that Jolie is pregnant, and that some are speculating a change of cast will be required.

Jolie’s obviously a good looking woman, but I tend to wonder whether she is tom-boyish enough to play Dagny. Long commutes to work have given me the time to put together a partial cast for the movie. I’ve mocked up a movie poster with that partial cast depicted, for your consideration, dear reader (see below).

Your comments welcome, as usual. And, if you happen to have anything to do with casting for Atlas Shrugged, please: do give these actors/actresses consideration.

Hugh Akston – Ed Harris
Francisco d’Anconia – Gerard Butler
Dr. Floyd Ferris – Michael Emerson
John Galt – Matthew McConaughey
Cuffy Meigs – Jordi Mollá
Wesley Mouch – Alec Baldwin
Hank Reardon – Daniel Craig
Lillian Reardon – Jennifer Connelly
Dr. Robert Stadler – Harrison Ford
Dagny Taggart – Evangeline Lilly
Jim Taggart – William Fichtner
Eddie Willers – Paul Campbell
Ellis Wyatt – Josh Holloway
The Young Brakeman – Hayden Christensen

Atlas Shrugged Movie: Partial Cast


36 Responses to “Atlas Shrugged Movie: Partial Cast”

  1. ~-B.e.l.l.e-` on February 27th, 2008 11:12 am

    Angelina is an excellent actress.

  2. Yes on February 27th, 2008 11:34 am

    Angelina should definitely do this movie. She might be pregnant now but you can still wait for her to deliver the babies. You know angie will be good and she’s all that, she aint just a pretty face, you know that. She CAN act!

  3. Todd on February 27th, 2008 11:44 am

    How about a walk-on for Richard Branson? As Wyatt, perhaps? Or (better) as Ragnar Danneskjold?

    I’m really curious to see whether the neo-cons are going to try and spin Rand’s vision of a truly free society. I hope not, but it puts me in mind of how, in the middle of WW2, Mussolini attempted to appropriate We The Living to use as anti-communist propaganda. The finished project was shelved, as I’m sure Mr McKeever is aware, when someone rightly pointed out that the film was an equally devastating commentary on fascism (and indeed, on all forms of statism) as well. Now that America has strayed so far from its Enlightenment roots as to be unrecognizable, it would be truly horrifying to see Atlas Shrugged shoe-horned into some sort of sad self-congratulatory narrative. But we shall see. And at least it will move a lot of books.

  4. Jason Kauppinen on February 27th, 2008 3:59 pm

    I always pictured Ellis Wyatt as more of a Sam Elliot figure myself.

  5. Favela Cranshaw on February 28th, 2008 1:09 am

    Mr. McKeever, you should become more familiar with the spelling of the characters in the book. It would look a little better.

  6. admin on February 28th, 2008 10:17 am

    Hi Favela. It’s been several months since I picked up the book. My entries were from memory. That said, I’ve made three corrections, pursuant to your post: I took, the “c” out of A[c]kston, put an extra “l” into Lil[l]ian, and changed the “D” to “d” in “[d]’Anconia”.

  7. bwlass on March 4th, 2008 2:38 pm

    Jeremy Northam for John galt Petition

    If you would like to see the brilliant Jeremy Northam as John Galt in
    the movie “Atlas Shrugged”, please sign this petition which is being
    sent to Baldwin Entertainment, executive producers of the film.

  8. Benoit Balls on June 28th, 2008 6:36 pm

    If this movie, which is based on objectivist/libertarian manifesto, is made, the producers could at least throw out a couple of actors who agree with the premise of the book! Having a group of collectivist liberals playing these roles will do great dis-service to the book. Branjolina are running around the world talking up the great works of the U.N. hardly a group of objectivist leaners. How about a roles for Tom Selleck and Clint Eastwood? Kurt Russell and Dennis Leary? Drew Cary even has a place Balph Eubanks maybe? How about Jason Reitman as director?
    I hope the producers give a shot to the few actors in hollywood who agree with the premise of this book a chance.

  9. Paul Lemke on August 8th, 2008 9:26 am

    I think that the AS movie is going to be a giant straw man for people to reject objectivism. I say this because the director, Randall Wallace is a hard core christian. He was even at one point going to be a minister at one point.

    “In interviews he has acknowledged a deep commitment to Christianity, which he credits as an influence on his approach to filmmaking.” <— from his wiki

  10. greg on November 19th, 2008 11:43 pm

    great job on the cast. my only sugestions would be matt(liberal)damon as eddie willars, Matthew McConaughey needs to go, at least brad pitt can “act”. maybe john gault should truly be an unknown, like the character himself. but overall great picks…oh yeah dump ahyden he is to old and ruined star wars..LOL

  11. Timothy on January 9th, 2009 11:05 pm

    There’s a lot of chatter about the succes or failure of this movie. But philosophical detectives will know its going to be a disaster for one basic reason. A director or producer who thinks Ms Jolie can carry off the Dagny Taggart role has serious flaws in his artisic sense of life. I’ve seen comments about her “beauty” and acting ability in supprt of her part in this movie. But it doesn’t change the fact that this simpering sheep could NEVER depict Ayn Rand’s character of Dagny Taggart. Ayn Rand loved America, but it is only in America’s cultural decline that Ms. Jolie could be considered beautiful or suitable for this role. There’s a lot to tempt one to weep in today’s world but this is a tragedy that would even make an objectivist weep openly.

  12. Jennifer Kerns on January 13th, 2009 1:50 pm

    I don’t think Matthew McConnahey is “hard” enough to play John Galt. Also, I think most people who hate Angelina Jolie do so because the tabloids love her. It’s similar to how everyone loved the movie Titanic until word got out that 13-year-old girls loved it because of Leonardo di Caprio: no one wants to like what tabloids and little girls like. She’s an amazing actress and has a strength about her that I’ve very seldom seen in a woman, and she *is* a little bit of a tomboy in that sense. I think she’d be perfect.

    Bravo on the choices for Gerard Butler as Francisco (I was thinking Antonio Banderas, but he’s a little old for the part), Jennifer Connelly as Lillian, Alec Baldwin as Mouch, and Hayden Christiansen as “young brakeman.” I think I’d switch around Ed Harris and Harrison Ford. The rest of the actors I’ve never heard of. 🙂

  13. Paul McKeever on January 13th, 2009 5:44 pm

    Hi Jennifer:

    You know, I think I know what you mean about McConnahey not being “hard” enough: he usually portrays more of a surfer-dude than a strong silent type. I also have a slightly hard time imagining him delivering the Galt Speech. His strength for the Galt Role, as I see it, was that he is modelesque, tall and slender (as Rand preferred her heroes to be) and green-eyed (like Galt)…(or am I mistaken about his eye colour…not that it matters, given the age of contact lenses). Certainly, you have well-identified what I would agree is one of my least certain casting picks.

    Angelina: I’ve nothing against her really. It’s just that she seems a bit too glamourous for the role. But, as you say, she has played the tomboy (especially in the Billy-Bob days).

    The other actors:

    Paul Campbell played a good President’s right-hand-man/assistant in Battlestar Gallactica. His character in that role seemed quite similar to that of Willers.

    Daniel Craig is the new James Bond. Hard features (especially face), blue eyes, sandy blonde hair, looks like a guy who works in a steel mill. He’s actually my most certain casting pick…or, perhaps he is second to:

    Josh Holloway, who plays Sawyer on the TV series “Lost”. Southern twang, cocky, good-looking and a bit of wild man, I think Rand would be quite happy about him playing Wyatt.

    Jordi Molla played the back-stabbing, criminal, South American cocaine middle-man in “Blow” (which starred Johnny Depp). If you’ve seen Blow, I think you’ll see why I thought he’d be a great pick for a South American Cuffy Meigs.

    Michael Emerson is another “Lost” actor. There, he plays a person who has the most advanced knowledge of the Island’s scientific equipment and capabilities; he is calm and extremely calculating; he is evil (or is made to appear so). The guy has Project X written all over him.

    William Fichtner played an excellent villain – an alien who has taken control of a cop’s human body, as in the Body Snatchers. Tall forehead, tall and slender, losing some hairline. Definitely able to play the nervous, fight-or-flight type character that is Jim Taggart. He might have to throw 10 lbs on to look out of shape enough to carry it off, but the rest I think he’d fit quite naturally.

  14. Grant on January 14th, 2009 2:03 am

    Paul, I disagree with you on Angelina not being tom-boyish enough to play Dagny (see Wanted). I actually think of all the actresses in Hollywood, she would make the best Dagny by a country mile.

    As for Matthew McConaughey as John Galt…nooooooooo. That would be a seriously bad move. Sure, he may look like a Rand hero, but as an actor he’s extremely one-dimensional (i.e. he can ONLY play Matthew McConaughey), and having to listen to him delivering Galt’s speech would be pure torture.

    The Young Brakeman is a fairly insignificant role so this one’s less of an issue, but Hayden Christensen has to be my least favourite actor at the moment. After having seen him in Star Wars and Jumper, I’ve made a vow to boycott any future movies of his, in an effort to retain my sanity. The guy is atrocious.

    I’d be very happy with the rest of that cast.

  15. Simon O'Riordan on January 14th, 2009 2:38 am

    Dagny Taggart?
    Only one actress.
    Kari Matchett.
    Google her. She was one of the ensemble cast in Nero Wolfe, where she proved able to change her look and was an utter professional.

  16. Paul McKeever on January 14th, 2009 8:21 am

    Simon: re – Kari Matchett. Interesting: she was in that alien invasion show too (“Invasion”), along with William Fichtner (who also played the bank manager at the beginning of the recent Batman movie, The Dark Knight).

  17. Paul McKeever on January 14th, 2009 8:36 am

    Ha! I just remembered: Matchett played Fichtner’s ex-wife in “Invasion”. Here, with Simon’s suggestion, she would be playing his sister.

    Here’s a photo of them together. Could they pull it off?

  18. Matthew W. Yucha on January 14th, 2009 8:51 am

    I would love to see Hugh Laurie (Dr. House) play Rearden.

  19. Simon O'Riordan on January 14th, 2009 12:36 pm

    Good picture. None I could find captured the ‘Kari Matchett’ look so well. That’s the essential gravitas in her personality which would be so suitable for Dagny. And I’m guessing the bloke for Jim? Could be.
    Hugh Laurie may not appear physically strong enough for Henry. I dug ditches in the 80’s, and now I’m around Hanks age I’m not particularly wiry. But he’d make a brilliant Akston.

  20. Kyle Haight on January 15th, 2009 4:12 pm

    I’ve always liked James Woods for Floyd Ferris. And, oddly enough, Jim Carrey as Eddie Willers.

  21. Aaron on May 8th, 2009 12:34 pm

    The primary problem with casting Atlas Shrugged lies in the fact that almost EVERY actor, writer, director, producer, etc. you could choose is, in life, 180 degrees away from the ideals that Rand espouses. Yes, they are professionals and can develop/film/portray characters of a wide variety, but to me they can never know how it is to believe in what Rand wrote, and so will always fall short of the ideal. And THAT is what Francis Ford Coppola defines as pretentious. There will always be a hidden sneer, or an interview stating how they don’t believe the words they are saying and so forth….

    That being said, on to the cast:

    – Michael Emerson as Floyd Ferris is brilliant. Another option I came across is Jason Isaacs, but the evil and duplicitous nature Emerson portrays as Ben on Lost really suits.
    – Gerard Butler as Fransisco d’Anconia – I guess he would work. It’s hard to pick an actor for this role since it is serious and silly at the same time. I think of Malcolm McDowell in A Clockwork Orange – giddy and serious at the same time. Of course, he cannot play Fransisco, but the mirthful, playfull, hedonism is what I am looking for. Oh, and he should at least be Latin or Spanish, not a Glaswegian…. Maybe Eduardo Noriega (Abre los ojos, the *real* Vanilla Sky).
    – McConaughey as Galt? No way. Maybe he could be Ellis Wyatt, but the tour de force that is Galt has to be of higher calibre. Maybe we have not seen an actor suitable for Galt to-date.
    – Lilly as Dagny – maybe. I think she can dial down the sexy to the point of being tom-boyish enough, just not sure she can carry the load that is Dagny Taggart.
    – Alec Baldwin as Wesley Mouch. Probably works since he likely believes in the ideals of Mouch, though I am not sure Baldwin is a true believer; seems more of an opportunist to me. I like Gary Oldman in this role. As someone else mentioned on another site, think of his role in The Contender.
    – Daniel Craig as Hank Reardon…again, maybe. I like Christian Bale more.
    – Harrison Ford can play the sellout Robert Stadler fine. His is a minor role and it should be right up his alley.
    – Fichtner as Jim T – inspired. I think of his wormy character in Armageddon and I see him as a whiny troll like Taggart just fine.
    – One character you missed is Ragnar Danneskjold. My choice is Alexander SkarsgĂĄrd. I imagine he can do a Scandinavian accent fine. Nathan Fillion is a great second choice (to wit: Firefly).
    – Jennifer Connelly as Lilian Reardon. Nice choice, especially if we get to see um, more of her rather than less of her. But my nod goes to Lucy Liu. Think about it.
    – Ed Harris as Hugh Akston. Mmmm. Okay. Maybe. How about Liam Neeson or Ralph Fiennes?
    – Josh Hollowy as Ellis Wyatt – maybe. He’s still an unknown except for Sawyer on Lost. He has the look, but I don’t think he has the gravitas. That’s why I went with McConaughey…..

    A final note: Hollyweird will make the final version of this film as poorly as possible. Think Dune.

  22. bittersweet on June 20th, 2009 11:44 pm

    i honestly think hank isn’t that old-looking… sorry, that’s my opinion. He cannot be really young though.

  23. CZ on June 28th, 2009 9:31 pm

    My cast:
    Dagney Taggart: Cate Blanchette
    Hank Reardon: Liam Neeson
    John Galt: Viggo Mortenson
    Lilian Reardon: agree – Jennifer Connely would be perfect, Jennifer could be a good Dagney too though!
    Francisco d’Anconia: Antonio Banderas although Gerard Butler would be good too
    Eddie Willers: Edward Norton
    I’d switch Ed Harris and Harrison Ford.
    Kenneth Branaugh as Ragnar Danneskjold

  24. bollysgirl on July 29th, 2009 6:37 pm

    Just love all the conversation about the casting of Atlas Shrugged…whoever is cast, the screen play is the thing..What an ovewhelming undertaking…Appropriate and thoughtful casting will take second place to box office casting…Consequently, let’s think in terms of Crowe, Bardem, Pitt, Clooney, Eastwood, Cox, Harris, Downey, DiCaprio, Bale, Craig, Damon,Swank, Theron, Jolie, Hathaway, Kidman…..What a great game!!!!!

  25. marvin sanders on August 7th, 2009 8:19 pm

    just make the movie already. i never go anymore but would go a dozen times to wath this. really needs to be a mini series though!

  26. Galt's Gulch on August 17th, 2009 9:26 am

    As far as the looters go, any of those “fat cat” style actors will do. Alec Baldwin, John Goodman, the judge from My Cousin Vinny, all the bad guy politicians from Clear & Present Danger.
    I’m voting for Paul Giamatti for James Taggert because he husky and Rand portrays him as someone who becomes more out of control as the story pushes on.
    Ragnar Danneskjöld could only be done by Paul Bettany.

  27. matrix641 on November 13th, 2009 3:22 pm

    Angelina Jolie??? No way. She is too exotic looking and ..”jaded”. We need someone classier and non sultry like Kate Beckensale.

    Wesley Mouch needs to me Paul Giamatti. End of story.

    I always pictured Christopher Mcdonald as Jim Taggart. He has played many roles that come across with his “scoundrel qualities”.

    Ed Harris struck me as the perfect suit for Hank Reardon. I know both of these guys are a bit older than the characters, but technology is a wonderful thing.

    How about Tim Robins as Dr. Stadler???

    Also, how can we not use Johnny Depp as Francisco Danconia? He was made for this role!

  28. matrix641 on November 14th, 2009 11:24 am

    Angelina Jolie??? No way. She is too sultry and invulnerable-looking. We need someone classier and non sultry like Kate Beckensale.

    Wesley Mouch needs to be Paul Giamatti, but he is not a bad choice for Jim Taggart either. I always pictured Christopher Mcdonald as Jim Taggart. He has played many roles that come across with Jim’s whiney “scoundrel qualities”.

    Ed Harris struck me as the perfect suit for Hank Reardon. I know both of these guys are a bit older than the characters, but technology is a wonderful thing.

    How about Tim Robins as Dr. Stadler???

    Also, how can we not use Johnny Depp as Francisco Danconia? He was made for this role!

    Either way, this movie should have been made a long time ago. What took so long?

  29. matrix641 on November 14th, 2009 11:39 am

    How about Hugo Weaving as Dr. Floyd Ferris??? V for Vendetta (v), Matrix (Agent Smith). He has a smooth sophisticated sounding voice that is perfect for an intellectual villain as well as easily concealed, yet thoroughly menacing facial expressions. He could totally sell it.

  30. Emily on December 28th, 2009 3:25 pm

    How about no crazy liberals in any of these parts? Angelina as Dagny is basically blasphemy to Ayn Rand.

  31. John Galt on January 9th, 2010 3:05 pm

    NO JOLIE in as Dagny T. .

    Just doesn’t not work.

    Dagny needs to be majestic and long.
    Not sultry and voluptuous.

    There needs to be strength of character, not strength of adventure.
    Dagny needs to make that dress and bracelet work.
    She needs to look right in Rearden’s office and in her office as well.

    Don’t forget her VOICE must work as well as the look..

  32. Henry on January 23rd, 2010 4:04 am

    I’ve always had Johnny Depp in mind as the one and only actor who can play Fransisco D’Anconia. I hope it turns out that way.

  33. Mark on January 30th, 2010 8:50 pm

    It obvious why it has taken so long to become a movie. It goes against the politics of Hollywood. Maybe Fox will make it happen.

  34. Andrea on April 1st, 2010 11:57 am

    This book should never be made into a movie. It should be read. No known actor can portray the depth of any of the characters. To do this novel justice the movie would have to be at least 24 hours long. Please Life, do not make this movie!

  35. Arthur James on October 28th, 2010 2:57 pm

    To all you would be casting agents: make your own damned movie!

  36. Garykl on December 17th, 2010 5:27 pm

    I saw your ideal casting. I love your picks for Hank and Lillian Reardon. Very insightful.

    Unfortunately, you know the movie is post production and the characters well cemented.

    I just hate that Eddie Willers was cast as a Black man. No offensive to any American-Africans, but it’s just not true to the story. That’s always my biggest beef when books are made into movies.

    God, I hope this movie is good. I hate for it to be like the Davinci Code – the book 100 times better than the movie.

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