Trivia: Atlas Shrugged
For the novel
- Life Imitates Art: A number of Soviet dissidents did take menial jobs, writing in their spare time. Because they were critical of the government, the Soviets wouldn't hire them as writers. Refusing to work was considered "social parasitism" and a serious crime on the Soviet Union.
- Misaimed Fandom: Wisconsin Senator and GOP Vice Presidential Candidate Paul Ryan once said, "[T]he reason I got involved in public service, by and large, if I had to credit one thinker, one person, it would be Ayn Rand." We can only wonder what work by Rand advocating service to the public he's talking about.
- Name's the Same: Dagny's brother has nothing to do with a Scottish detective who solves murders.
- Or with a Scottish (well, actually Venusian) fighter pilot/secret agent/politician, either.
- John Galt has no connection with a Scottish novelist and entrepreneur.
- Technology Marches On: A "super-color-four-foot-screen television set" is mentioned as being "erected" in a public park like it was some sort of monument; today you can get one for a few hundred dollars and mount it on your wall in an hour or so.
For the film
- Ash Can Copy: Millionaire investor John Aglialoro bought an 18-year long option on the book, and tried to pitch it to various studios throughout the 90s and the 00s. With his options set to expire, Aglialoro sunk much of his personal fortune in financing the first installment in the hopes of a higher budget for the next installments. It didn't work out the way he wanted to.
- Box Office Bomb: All three films were miserable financial failures, with none of them even making back their budgets despite the budgets for each continually being slashed in half:
- Part I made US$ 4.6 million on a US$ 20 million budget.
- Part II made US$ 3.3 million on a US$ 10 million budget
- Part III made US$ 846 thousand on a US$ 5 million budget.
- Development Hell: The adaptation was in development hell for about 40 years before a group of filmmakers scraped together enough money to make a relatively faithful three-part adaptation.
- Saved from Development Hell: There were two failed attempts in The '70s to turn it into a Mini Series — the first one fell through when Ayn Rand wasn't able to secure final script approval, while the second one had a finished script (with Rand's approval), written by screenwriting legend Stirling Silliphant (of In the Heat of the Night and Route 66 fame), and was gearing up for production at NBC, but that too was halted after Fred Silverman came to power at the network. Rand started work on her own script, but she died with only a third of it finished. The film rights switched hands multiple times in the ensuing decades, and at one point such stars as Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe were all attached. All of their deals, however, fell through, and the current rights-holders rushed through an independently-financed production in order to prevent the film rights from reverting to the Rand estate. The result, released in 2011 as Atlas Shrugged: Part I, was critically thrashed and went largely ignored even by the conservatives and libertarians that its marketing aggressively courted.
- Doing It for the Art: Look above you at the critical reception of the film. It's obviously not being done for big bucks. It's for fans and would-be fans of Ayn Rand. Conservative radio host Jack Hunter summed it up with this remark: "Objectively, it is a mediocre movie at best. Subjectively, it is one of the best mediocre movies you’ll ever see"
- Executive Meddling: the first film flops and they continue on but with an entirely new cast? Someone has a personal interest in this.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Paul Larkin is Jimmy Barret! Some scientist (Dr. Potter in the book) is Principal Snyder / Andrew Ryan / Quark!
- Dr. Robert Stadler (in the second movie, anyway) is The Doc / Emergency Medical Hologram / Emergency Command Hologram / Dr. Zimmerman!
- Who knew that Dagny Taggart would later go to jail for drug smuggling?
- Fridge Brilliance: Decriminalization of recreational drugs is a pet cause of many Libertarian thinkers, due to it being a relatively-victimless crime and a very naturalistic supply-and-demand-driven market.
- A truly hilarious one—Quentin Daniels, the brilliant young physicist, is Oswald from the Drew Carey Show/Lawrence from Office Space!
- Still the assistant to powerful women, Eddie Willers is Bruce from Judging Amy.
- Teller makes a cameo in the second film.
- Meaningful Release Date: The first installment came out on Tax Day in the US, while the second installment came out near the 2012 elections.
- Not Screened for Critics: The second film wasn't screened for critics, instead it was shown for the conservative Heritage Foundation and libertarian Cato Institute. Producer John Aglialaro claimed it was because professional movie critics had dubious integrity. Then the film actually came out and managed to do even worse than its predecessor did even without critics giving it early bad reviews.
- The Other Darrin: The entire cast changes between all three films. In particular, Dagny Taggart starts out being played by Taylor Schilling in the first film, then is played by Samantha Mathis in the second film, and Laura Regan in the third.