"Atlas Shrugged" Sequel Will Feature Ron Paul, Glenn Beck & Sean Hannity

Thee third film in the Atlas Shrugged series will be opening in September, and a host of familiar faces will be splashed across the screen. You can practically see the glimmering marquee already: " Atlas Shrugged Part 3: Who Is John Galt? starring Ron Paul!" Well, that's an exaggeration, as the 78-year-old ex-congressman from Texas will be about as far from "starring" in the film as could be. Nonetheless, it's the political acting debut nobody could have expected, and he's not alone, either — conservative personalities Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity, and Grover Norquist are all in the fold, as well.

The film trilogy is based on the sprawling novel of the same name, written by famed author and Objectivist firebrand Ayn Rand in 1957. It's a tale tethered to the various political and social ideals Rand held to the utmost importance, often to a extent which roiled her critics — the primacy of self-interest, the tyranny of state control, and the virtue of an unfettered intellectual and corporate elite chiefly among them.

It imagines a United States government whose collectivist regulations are so intolerable to the elite that they go on a sort of strike, hiding away to show the world how dismal things will be without them. That's by no means the full force of the story, and regardless of differing opinions on Rand's politics I wouldn't portray it as such — the book is, after all, bloated at over 1,000 pages, as its separation into three films hints.

While it enduring some blistering criticism at the time of its publication, it became something of a foundational sensation among libertarian and conservative groups, and has had a place in those spaces ever since. That Ron Paul would be keen to participate should come as little surprise; he's a fan of her work, admitting it's influenced him throughout his life. (It's worth noting, however, that his Senator son Rand was not named after her. This is a rumor the elder Paul dispelled in a Reddit AMA last year.)

Atlas Shrugged’ is a fantastic book, but it’s much more than a story — it’s a philosophy. It’s influenced millions of people already and because of its greatness, it’s going to continue to influence a lot of people.

Unfortunately for Paul's enthusiasm, if the free market counts for anything (and you know he thinks it does), the films actually haven't influenced much. The first two installments had a combined budget of $30 million, a fairly minuscule amount by contemporary standards. and made under $10 million at the box office.

The roster of conservative pseudo-celebrities behind Paul turns this final installment into something of a right-wing confab. Glenn Beck, also an outspoken admirer of Rand's work, as well as Fox News' Sean Hannity, are expected to play commentators following a long speech (in the book's first edition it took up 70 pages) by Galt.

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Paul will also be playing a commentator, so presumably he'll be flexing his acting chops a bit more than the others. What role anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist will play is less immediately clear, but this much is certain — unless you're pretty down with Ayn Rand, Objectivism, or conservative politics, this could be one to skip.

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