The House of Sand and Fog director talks about finally getting the project out of development Hell.
Best known for House of Sand and Fog, writer/director Vadim Perelman is about to come out with another book-to-movie adaptation, The Life Before Her Eyes, which he was showing at last week's AFI Dallas International Film Festival. But even though the drama, which stars Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood, opens next week, it is hardly the most exciting project Perelman has on his slate.
As it turns out, Perelman has written an adaptation of Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand's 1957 novel about a female railroad magnate, Dagny Taggart, who is struggling to keep her company afloat. The 1000+ page exploration of Rand's philosophy of objectivism has been considered both off-putting and monumentally influential to its readers.
However, the real story behind Atlas Shrugged is the difficult (to say the least) journey it has had making it to film. In fact, Atlas Shrugged is often cited as the quintessential example of a movie that's been stuck in "development Hell," with various versions supported by various investors and studios, with various writers and directors attached nearly since it was published.
But somehow, Perelman's adaptation seems to be the one that may get off the ground. "I wrote a script that they all liked for the first time," he says. "I was really true to the book and they said that I solved it, finally. Not my words. I didn't feel I did, but they really liked it a lot."
What's most interesting is that Perelman managed this even though he isn't much of an Ayn Rand fan. "It's not very good literature," he and I agreed, "but I have respect for her."
Rumors abound as to who will play the lead roles in the movie, although at present names like Angelina Jolie, Russell Crowe and Brad Pitt are all supposedly attached. And it seems as though there will still be time for things to change.
But at present, Perelman is cautiously optimistic. "Now I'm doing a rewrite, a polish, as they say," he says. "And they seem to want to get it done."
Vadim Perelman's next movie, The Life Before Her Eyes, opens on Friday, April 18, 2008.