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“If you saw Atlas, the giant who holds the world on his shoulders, if you saw that he stood, blood running down his chest, his knees buckling, his arms trembling but still trying to hold the world aloft with the last of his strength, and the greater his effort the heavier the world bore down upon his shoulders – What would you tell him?” -Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
Readers of Ayn Rand’s novel, Atlas Shrugged, have been asking this question since Ayn Rand’s masterpiece was first published in 1957. Since then, 8.4 million books have been sold. And in 2011, producer and filmmaker Harmon Kaslow set out to resurrect the story in the form of film. The third and final movie of the trilogy, Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt releases in theaters on Friday, Sept. 12.
*You can also attend our LIVE webinar with Harmon Kaslow on Wednesday, Sept. 10.
Watchdog Wire conducted an exclusive Q&A with the film producer, Harmon Kaslow, about the upcoming film:
Q: Is Atlas Shrugged III a political film or is it entertainment?
A: Both, and then some. It’s well known that Ayn Rand was warning us in Atlas Shrugged that an out-of-control, overreaching government is not the solution, it’s the problem. The movie is a celebration of Ayn Rand’s ideas and our intention is absolutely to entertain you while bringing Ayn Rand’s ideas to the forefront of public discourse.
Q: What do you hope viewers will take away from the film?
A: What most people think they know about Ayn Rand is simply false. She was an advocate for the rights of the individual – all individuals. Ayn Rand was an optimist who believed in the fundamental idea of America and painted a very clear picture as to why the role of government should be a limited one in our lives.
Q: Was it difficult making the Atlas Shrugged films without the financial backing of major Hollywood companies?
A: The Hollywood studios spend upwards of a $100 million producing a movie … and nearly as much marketing it. This results in two distinguishing factors: (a) the luxury of time and resources in production and (b) the prevalence of expansive marketing to generate awareness and interest.
We knew Hollywood was never going to get behind us, so we purposely sought out, and found, our audience – passionate fans of Ayn Rand who want the message of Atlas Shrugged spread as wide and far as possible. They’re the ones that we’re making the movie for and they’re the ones we care about.
*Want to hear more from Harmon? Join Watchdog Wire’s live webinar with producer Harmon Kaslow on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 2:00pm ET. Click here to register.
Q: Which real political figures are referenced or shown in the movie? Why did you make the decision to include them?
A: This is the final installment of the trilogy and we’re having a party. For us, it’s all about the film being a celebration of Ayn Rand’s ideas and what do you do when you have a party? You invite your friends.
Fans will see former Presidential candidate Ron Paul, radio and TV news personalities Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity, conservative radio hosts Andrew Wilkow, Phil Valentine and Rusty Humphries, president of FreedomWorks Matt Kibbe, founder of Capitalist Pig hedge fund Jonathan Hoenig, president of Institute for Liberty Andrew Langer and president of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist, among others. We had a great time with everyone and it was really great to see all of these huge Liberty movement influencers smiling and taking it all in. No one wanted it to end. Lots of laughter, lots of in-depth talks, and lots of nods to Ayn Rand. It was a terrific experience for everyone involved.
Q: Government officials in the movie claim that we must make sacrifices “for the greater good.” Where do we hear this argument today?
A: A better question might be, “where do you not hear that argument today?” It’s everywhere. And, it’s coming straight from the top – right here in the United States. President Obama continues to espouse a message that jumps right off the pages of Atlas Shrugged. Whether he’s saying “pay your fair share” or “you didn’t build that”, it’s just a constant barrage.
What they don’t understand is that, while it all feels really good to say “for the greater good”, whose greater good are we talking about? Yours? Mine? Society’s? It’s just ambiguous mush. Ayn Rand said it best 50 years ago, “The uncontested absurdities of today, are the accepted slogans of tomorrow.”
Q: What can citizen watchdogs learn from the character, Dagny Taggart? What advice would she have for those who choose to stand up to an overreaching government?
A: Question everything. Don’t just take someone’s word for something. Find out for yourself. Make up your own mind. Think for yourself and don’t allow the majority to influence your ability to reason. A Randian hero is a real American hero. Honor, integrity, strength, honesty, and a great work ethic are just a few of the their qualities. These are the virtues we should all aspire to and a critical role in realizing those goals is thinking for yourself.
Taggart’s advice to us: Speak up. Talk, and keep talking. Reason with those who are open to learning, don’t waste your time on those who aren’t. Ayn Rand said, “Reason is not automatic. Those who deny it cannot be conquered by it. Do not count on them. Leave them alone.” We have a war to win and it’s not going to be won on the battlefield of the foolish. It’s going to be won on the battlefield of the reasoning mind. Pick your targets and deliver them the truth.
*Atlas Shrugged III releases in movie theaters on Friday, Sept. 12. You can also participate in Watchdog Wire’s live webinar with producer Harmon Kaslow on Wednesday, Sept. 10 at 2:00pm ET. Click here to register.
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