Production ends 30-year trek to bring pic to screen

The long-brewing feature version of author Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” has begun shooting in Los Angeles as a $5 million indie produced by John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow.

Cameras began rolling over the weekend on a five-week shoot for “Atlas Shrugged Part One” with Paul Johansson directing from Brian Patrick O’Toole’s script. Aglialoro would have lost the feature rights if the film wasn’t in production by Saturday.

A spokesman for Aglialoro — the CEO of exercise equipment producer Cybex — said there will be at least one more “Atlas Shrugged” shot after the current film’s completed. Rand’s massive novel is divided into three parts, each consisting of 10 chapters.

“Atlas,” published in 1957, takes place in a dystopian version of the U.S. in which society has collapsed as the government gains increasing controlover industry. The decline occurs while the most productive citizens, led by John Galt, begin vanishing.

Johansson (“One Tree Hill”) portrays Galt. The lead role of railroad executive Dagny Taggart has gone to Taylor Schilling (“Mercy) and the part of Henry Reardon is being played by Grant Bowler (“Ugly Betty”).

Michael Lerner (“A Serious Man”) portrays lobbyist Wesley Mouch and director Nick Cassavetes has signed on for the Richard McNamara role. Other key cast include Matthew Marsdan as James Taggart and Graham Beckel as Ellis Wyatt.

“Atlas” also stars Edi Gathegi, Jsu Garcia, Rebecca Wisocky, Ethan Cohn, Patrick Fischer, Neill Barry, Christina Pickles and Nikki Klecha.

There have been unsuccessful attempts to bring “Atlas Shrugged” to the bigscreen and TV dating back to the 1970s.

In 2007, Angelina Jolie was to star in a Lionsgate version, with Vadim Perelman directing and rewriting “Atlas Shrugged” from a script penned by Randall Wallace. Husband-and-wife team Howard and Karen Baldwin and Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski were set to produce.

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