Producer promises ‘much richer production’ for ‘Atlas Shrugged: Part II’

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Robby Soave Reporter
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Can the economy endure unending government regulation? Why have all the entrepreneurs and visionaries disappeared? Who is John Galt?

These are just a few of the familiar questions that fans of free market philosopher Ayn Rand will encounter in the second movie based on her famous novel, “Atlas Shrugged,” in theaters Oct. 12.

“Atlas Shrugged: Part II” picks up right where the story left off at the end of the first movie, which was released in 2011 to mixed reviews.

The biggest change is immediately apparent: Part II uses an entirely different cast that includes several surprise cameos. (A certain libertarian magician is unusually loquacious during his brief appearance.) Samantha Mathis (“Lost,” “Grey’s Anatomy”) and Jason Beghe (“Californication”) star as captains of industry Dagny Taggart and Hank Rearden, respectively.

In addition to a cast of better-known actors, Part II also benefits from a larger budget. Producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow said to expect improved special effects.

“People will see a different cast, they will see a much richer production,” said Aglialoro, in an interview with The Daily Caller News Foundation. “The budget was doubled from $10 million to $20 million for the production as well as in the advertisement and marketing.”

Aglialoro and Kaslow talked with the DC News Foundation about adapting Rand’s treatise against big government—a vision as relevant to the 2012 presidential election as it was in the author’s own time.

In the film and novel, the most productive people in society decide to go on strike. But this fictional strike has little in common with the teachers’ strike in Chicago last month, said Aglialoro.

“Collective bargaining is a good thing. What’s not good is when the government brings their revolver to the negotiating table on the side of the union,” said Aglialoro. “Having the unions in Chicago use their force through government to exact a wage that may be higher than other teachers make in other cities, these are the kind of questions the election is going to answer.”

The film’s release is intended to have an influence on the presidential election, since many of the political, social and economic problems facing the protagonists are also issues that weigh on voters’ minds. But for Kaslow, the adaptation is also a timeless tribute to one of the best-loved books of the 20th century.

“For John and me, it’s about creating a cinematic celebration of Ayn Rand’s ideas, so people who are familiar with the book, it gives them a chance to go the theaters and see these characters come to life,” said Kaslow.

But fans who want to know “Who is John Galt?” will have to see the film for themselves to find out.

“I came into this interview convinced I was going to answer every single question you asked, but that’s going to cost you $10,” said Aglialoro. “Who is John Galt is itself a mystery, and that’s what the movie is. If I gave you the answer, you’d probably say, ‘I’ll wait until Netflix.'”

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