With the news that the Production company that owns the rights to my favorite book (Atlas Shrugged), is planning to begin production of the movie version in June - I thought I would take a shot casting this movie for them.
Dagny Taggart (our heroine) - Angelina Jolie. I am an Angelina fan, and I chose her because I think she fits the mold of who Ayn Rand describes in Atlas. However, it goes beyond that as I also feel the strength she has shwon in past performances will be needed here. Dagny Taggart is a stoic character, withdrawn and even cold socially but beautiful physically. I think that Jolie as Dagny Taggart could be the role of a lifetime.
Hank Rearden - Denzell Washington. The character of Hank Rearden is a complex one, in many ways he is the male version of Dagny Taggart and yet he has many more social connections (though he does not want them). Physically I always kind of pictured a man's man when I thought of Rearden, not a lumberjack or anything, but not someone you would ever want to mess with. I wrestled for a long time with this character because I am not sure there is a Hollywood actor who fits the Rearden mold perfectly. Hank is a white guy in the book... but I really felt like Denzell could more than do his character justice.
John Galt - Robert Downey Jr. The climax of the book happens when Galt gives one of the most important speeches in literary history... a long and complex speech will need an uncommon actor to deliver the goods. Downey Jr., has already warmed up for the part of Galt by playing erstwhile millionare Tony Stark in the Iron Man movies.
Francisco D'Anaconia - Nestor Carbonell. He was just always who I pictured for D'Anaconia.
Ragnar Danneskjöld - Josh Holloway. Holloway and Carbonell have recently been seen on Lost, but I promise this is just a coincedence. The character of Danneskjold is real honest to goodness Viking pirate, and he has to be played by someone who can pull off the whole "I do what I want" vibe. He also has to look like a Viking... and I just can't think of too many happy-go-lucky Norse actors.
Wesley Mouch - Hugo Weaving. This is the government slug who wreaks havoc throughout the story... I feel like Hugo Weaving looks like a Wesley Mouch.
Dr. Floyd Ferris - Kevin Spacey. The character of Dr. Ferris is similarly slimey like Mouch yet with a touch of deviant behavior. Kevin Spacey has always kind of struck me as a deviant.
James Taggart - Paul Giamatti. James Taggart is a waste of skin... a lazy no account who tries to pass the buck at every turn. Giamatti is a brilliant actor who could do this job justice.
Lillian Rearden - Ashley Judd.
Dr. Robert Stadler - Donald Sutherland. The once brilliant now wasted hero of our heroes... Dr. Stadler has become what Galt and his ilk hate the most - unproductive.
Hugh Akston - Robert Duvall. Rather than giving in to society as his once associate Dr. Stadler did, Dr. Akston fled the unproductive society to join his students in protesting the fall of creativty and productivity.
There are many great characters in this book and I feel like I could cast a whole bunch more (for instance Gary Sinise as Dan Conway or Ken Danagger)... but really what I hope is that this movie does justice to the book. Ayn Rand's pièce de résistance is a masterwork that deserves to be done seriously and with full heart.