OK, I confess that I was very concerned about this movie when I first heard it was being made. I’ve made some comments on this blog about it, both expressing my concerns and my hopes for the film. The film will only depict the first third of the story, which is the only decision the filmmakers could make – like Lord of the Rings, it’s too big to do in a single film, no matter how brilliantly written.
The trailer came out a couple of weeks ago, and it’s pretty, but it doesn’t tell much. It did show that the film was going to be set in the present or near-future (some folks are speculating 2016 or thereabouts) instead of in an alternate 1950s or so. (There is a timeline on one of the Ayn Rand sites that speculates that the end of the story should fall in 1974; Rand was very careful to avoid references to anything that would date the book very much. I don’t think she could foresee the growth of the trucking industry, but otherwise, an alternate 1974 would have been perfectly believable.)
Now a clip has appeared on the film’s official site that shows an important scene from the film. While it’s not a pivotal plot point, it was a perfect clip to use to help those of us who liked the book feel a bit better about how Brian O’Toole handled the book in writing the script. It’s the scene where Hank Rearden comes home on the day he poured the first batch of Rearden Metal, and he presents his wife with a bracelet made from it. You can see it here:
If you’ve read the book, you know that Rand spends pages and pages describing the struggle inside Hank Rearden’s head during this scene. I’ve not compared the book and the scene, but the dialog seems very, very similar. The delivery by the cast is spot-on, especially Rebecca Wisocky as Lillian Rearden. Grant Bowler seems to do a good job as Hank Rearden; I couldn’t figure out what bothered me about him at first. Finally I got it – he’s too short! He’s barely taller than Dagny when she’s wearing heels! I’ve pictured northern-Minnesota-born Hank as a tall, Nordic, rawboned man, not as a smooth, well-groomed type comfortable in board rooms – more the type comfortable in the foundry. I have to say, though, that Bowler does a good job carrying off the feeling of Hank Rearden in this clip.
By God, I hope the rest of the movie is as good as this!