Vadim Perelman to direct ‘Atlas’

Jolie to star in Lionsgate's Ayn Rand adaptation

Lionsgate has brought on Vadim Perelman to rewrite “Atlas Shrugged” and direct Angelina Jolie in the starring role.

While Lionsgate needs to get a final script before formally committing to a start date with Perelman at the helm, the move puts the company in a strong position for an early 2008 production start, just a shade over 50 years after Ayn Rand’s famed novel was first published in 1957.

Pic will be produced by Howard and Karen Baldwin and Media Talent Group’s Geyer Kosinski.

Perelman will work from a draft of the script penned by “Braveheart” scribe Randall Wallace, who managed to boil down the Rand manifesto of 1,100-plus pages into a 127-page script. The drama revolves around what happens when great industrialists and thinkers go on strike and the world grinds to a halt.

Wallace will remain involved, and in a recent meeting with Perelman, the pair traded Russian dialogue. Perelman was born in Kiev, while Wallace has picked up the language researching his Catherine the Great pic “The Mercenary”; Rand was born in Russia. Perelman has brought his own take that will be incorporated into Wallace’s script.

Perelman’s latest film, the Uma Thurman-Evan Rachel Wood starrer “In Bloom,” premieres at the Toronto Film Festival. It’s his first since his 2003 breakthrough, “House of Sand and Fog.”

Jolie starts work in early fall on the Clint Eastwood-directed “The Changeling” for Universal, Imagine and Malpaso. She would like to follow with “Atlas Shrugged,” long a passion project for her.

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