The movie for Atlas Shrugged, that brick o' Objectivist philosophy by chain-smoking aficionado Ayn Rand, is in a weird place. Its director was canned right before filming. The new director? The male lead, the dad from One Tree Hill. Cool?
The film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged — which takes place in a dystopian America where an increasingly statist government is stifling creativity and making everyone sad — up until recently had no cast and (almost) no budget (well, $5 million). Director Joe Polk was attached to the project but found himself replaced before the cameras began rolling last weekend. His replacement? The movie's star, Paul Johansson, who's better known as the dad from CW teen drama One Tree Hill. Polk said this to say about his canning to Deadline:
I had some real names seriously interested, but it had to be a real feature film, and I feel like I had the rug pulled out from under me [...] When we talked about cast, even B-list cast, they were like, 'we don't need names.' It was great material, people were interested, but there were red flags. It's devastating to me. They replaced me with a TV actor, this has TV written all over it. They've fired other people. I was trying to embrace the spirit of Atlas Shrugged, and it will be interesting to see if they can still pull it off.
Polk has hired a lawyer, so he plans to sue someone over his shucking. Meanwhile, some folks suspect that producers are just churning out a quick'n'easy film simply to hold on to the rights. Given the disarray this project is in, there's a good chance the Rand faithful will be disappointed and Rand's critics will use this film for Mystery Science Theater 3000-style viewing parties.