After decades of false starts, it appears that a movie version of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged is finally underway. Principal photography commenced last month. And yet the whole project is very odd. After years of rumors about a big-budget spectacle featuring Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, and other A-list stars, the production now going forward has a no-name cast, a TV director, a 5-week shooting schedule, and a paltry $5 million budget. All of which has inspired speculation that the movie is a mere placeholder intended to extend the producer's option (which would have expired in June if cameras hadn't rolled).
I don't know if this penny-ante project is the real deal or only a variation on Roger Corman's unreleased Fantastic Four movie. One thing I do know is that the director, Paul Johansson, is doing double duty by also essaying the pivotal role of Randian ubermensch John Galt.
Long before his involvement with Atlas, Johansson was a regular on One Tree Hill, a show I never watched. Today, reading some snarky comments about the Atlas movie, I came across a link to what is apparently Johansson's finest moment in the now-canceled series. Immediately upon seeing it, I had what I can only describe as an epiphany. I felt deeply connected to all living things, indeed to the beating heart of the universe itself. I understood the circle of life, the tragedy of mortality, and the ultimate meaning of the apparent absurdity of existence.
Deep in my soul, I knew I must do everything in my power to ensure that all people on Earth share in the life-altering and spiritually transcendent experience of watching this video. In fact, I now feel it is my mission in life - my destiny, if you will - to expand public awareness of this towering moment in television history. Quite simply, it is what I was put on this Earth to do.
First, I need to set the scene by explaining that Johansson plays a man with a terminal heart condition, anxiously awaiting the arrival of the donor heart that will save his life. He sits in a hospital waiting room (though one would think a man in such dire condition would be confined to bed), with a therapy dog for companionship. Tension is high. The stakes are life and death. This is drama at its finest.
What follows is an overpowering dramatic moment, surely the equal of the best of Shakespeare.
I now present the YouTube clip in all its glory.