The third and final installment, Who is John Galt? hits theaters on Friday, Sept. 12, 2014 and John Aglialoro sat down with Reason TV’s Nick Gillespie to discuss the completion of the Atlas Shrugged films, their negative critical reception, and the enduring influence of Ayn Rand’s thought. As usual when it comes to Gillespie, it was a good interview and covered a lot of ground. It is a tough task to adopt a film from a novel that means so much to so many people, yet a movie is the perfect gateway to bringing more people into the Objectivist philosophy. Many hard-core Rand fans from the novel want the salacious sex that Ayn Rand wrote about—which was greatly removed from John Aglialoro’s renditions. Personally, I’m grateful as the sex could easily overpower the story in such a movie and I appreciated the tastefulness that it was handled by the Atlas Shrugged trilogy.
Every time I watch Aglialoro in an interview it is easy to see the hurt behind his eyes. Like Rand, who thought that the unspoken and neglected businessmen would flock to her support of them after the release of her 1957 novel, most cowered in the darkness like idiots paralyzed by the political left into silence. Aglialoro during the second film premiered Atlas II in Washington D.C. right before the 2012 election. Not a single politician, not Ted Cruz, not Rand Paul and certainly not Vice-Presidential candidate Paul Ryan showed up for the movie as they tried to maintain their political distance—so not to have people from the left call them names. Ryan had been an open Ayn Rand supporter before being put on the national ticket with Mitt Romney. Nobody from the political class showed up in Washington D.C. to show their support of a conservative leaning movie featuring ideals that the political right should have openly embraced with great enthusiasm. Republicans played it safe and guess what………….they lost in the 2012 elections all across the nation.
I have felt the bite of that kind of pain a time or two, most recently when I was on 700 WLW radio dealing with a controversy—a sexist accusation by my political enemies who were trying to the same smear tactic used against Rush Limbaugh and Mitt Romney at the time. Unlike those guys, I defended my position proudly. In 2012 I was a spokesman for a group standing against higher school taxes, which was a very unpopular position. I had in my circle a number of high-profile movers and shakers and was proud of them for supporting such a controversial topic. My plan with the pro tax people was in full swing, they were attacking our side by calling us greedy businessmen, so I attacked back with the truth—that a majority of the pro tax advocates were fat assed, out-of-touched parents. Of course they didn’t like it—because the truth hurt. I meant for it to. So I was on the air ready to defend our position and those prominent local businessmen and politicians sent a press release to the station while I was on the air distancing themselves from me. The controversy I didn’t mind at all. The betrayal did bother me. I shut off interviews for the rest of the day as I recalibrated my position. It hurt terribly to trust people then watch them fall for the old liberal tricks of guilt abasement. I couldn’t let that hurt come out in my public statements—which is a really tough thing to do when an entire city is ready to pounce on your every word.
The motivations of those fearful dissidents are the same at every spectrum, from Ayn Rand, to John Aglialoro, to me—we have all been left at the alter by those we were trying to help. It feels like being cheated on by a spouse—just as you are declaring your love for that significant other, you learn that they have been doing the horizontal shuffle with the very people you are fighting—and it hurts. It hurts whether it is sex or politics—in both cases you end up screwed. It is that screwed look that Aglialoro has on his face with each interview he does. He was much more hopeful after Atlas I did respectable opening night numbers, but by the time Atlas III hit theaters he had a hurt look on his face from all the betrayals he had experienced over the last couple of years, while making the movie. For him he continued to make the movies even though very few supported the endeavor. The enemies of the movie were perplexed as to why he continued even though the films were box office failures and did not have majority support from the public. What those same people did not understand was that John Aglialoro made the movies for himself, not for the public. He did it to accomplish a task, not to win approval as a second-hander. Since most of society functions as second-handers, they don’t understand Aglialoro, or his movie. So there is sadness when he talks about the films. He knows as the words leave his mouth that nobody really is going to understand why he made the films—yet he does it anyway in a hope that something will change—someday.
Atlas III won’t be any different. People who understand it will love it, various others who have skin in some type of political game, even within Ayn Rand circles, will hate it. They’ll hate it for Aglialoro’s point of view in making the movie—they’ll complain about the lack of sex, the lack of depth, the lack of good actors, the lack of budget, the lack of public support, the lack of technical aptitude, and every lack of anything else they can think of. But what they can’t accuse John Aglialoro of is a lack of heart and determination. What he did was hard and deserves admiration in the face of much hurt which only those who have been betrayed in a similar fashion can understand.