Friday, February 26, 2010

Samwise Gamgee plays Harrison Bergeron

As Frodo Baggins himself said, the unsung hero of 'Lord of the Rings' is really Samwise Gamgee, as played by Sean Astin in Peter Jackson's magnificent trilogy.

Gamgee plays Everyman, up against the ultimate form of undying statist evil in the outward dark form of Sauron, overcoming all the power of Sauron's Mordorian socialist serfdom state, embodied in the one ring of communist power - one Leninist ring to rule them all - by bodily helping Frodo upwards towards the crack of Mount Doom in the face of all the coercive tyrannical power against him.

To play one such anti-state hero in your life is one thing.

However, to also play another, Harrison Bergeron, the great dystopian hero of Kurt Vonnegut's epic short story, a favourite of Uncle Murray's, is simply outstanding. So below, we have the 1hr 40min 1995 'Showtime' version of 'Harrison Bergeron', which preceded the later production of the 2081 movie.

There is, of course, only more role available for Sean Astin to get 'the set', and that is John Galt, if only somebody in Hollywood would actually dare go ahead and finally make 'Atlas Shrugged' - Is Peter Jackson available to get the job done?

BTW, look out for a guest appearance below, by George W. Bush, for some reason playing the President of the United States. And if the hugely ugly statist building where the rulers live isn't the truly horrific 'Government Center' in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, then I must be a monkey's uncle.

The text of the original story is also available, here (HT to byafi).

UPDATE: Wikipedia entry on the projected 2011 release of 'Atlas Shrugged':
A film adaptation of Atlas Shrugged has been in "development hell" for over 35 years. In 1972, Albert S. Ruddy approached Ayn Rand to produce a cinematic adaptation of Atlas Shrugged. Rand insisted on having final script approval, which Ruddy refused to give her, thus preventing a deal. In 1978, Henry and Michael Jaffe negotiated a deal for an eight-hour Atlas Shrugged television miniseries on NBC. Michael Jaffe hired screenwriter Sterling Silliphant to adapt the novel and he obtained approval from Rand on the final script. However, in 1979, with Fred Silverman’s rise as president of NBC, the project was scrapped.

Rand, a former Hollywood screenwriter herself, began writing her own screenplay, but died in 1982 with only one-third of it finished. She left her estate, including the film rights to Atlas, to her student Leonard Peikoff, who sold an option to Michael Jaffe and Ed Snider. Peikoff would not approve the script they wrote, and the deal fell through. In 1992, investor John Aglialoro bought an option to produce the film, paying Peikoff over $1 million for full creative control.

In 1999, under Aglialoro’s sponsorship, Albert Ruddy negotiated a deal with Turner Network Television for a four-hour miniseries, but the project was killed after the AOL Time Warner merger. After the TNT deal fell through Howard and Karen Baldwin obtained the rights while running Phillip Anschutz's Crusader Entertainment. The Baldwins left Crusader and formed Baldwin Entertainment Group in 2004, taking the rights to Atlas Shrugged with them. Michael Burns of Lions Gate Entertainment approached the Baldwins to fund and distribute Atlas Shrugged. A two-part draft screenplay written by James V. Hart was re-written into a 127-page screenplay by Randall Wallace, with Vadim Perelman expected to direct. Potential cast members for this production have included Angelina Jolie, Charlize Theron, Julia Roberts, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe, and Brad Pitt. Subsequent developments have cast doubt on the participation of some of these individuals, although the resurgence of public interest in the novel appears to be attracting additional funding.

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