Movie Rights to Godless Ayn Rand Novel Acquired From Catholics Vice chairman of Lionsgate Michael Burns' mission to grab the screen rights of me-first philosopher Ayn Rand's libertarian soap opera of a novel Atlas Shrugged ended at a strange place: his Catholic Church. As Burns tells it in an interview this week, he was leaving mass one Sunday when he ran into Ray producers Howard and Karen Baldwin, telling them, "I heard you have the rights to Atlas Shrugged and I'd like to talk to you about that because that is truly one of my favorite books." As all good Rand acolytes know, the stern founder of the philosophy of Objectivism wasn't a huge fan of God or the Catholic Church, once informing the late devout editor of National Review William F. Buckley, "But you are too smart to believe in God!" Burns, who says he attended Rand's funeral in 1982, is all too aware of his heresy, adding, "Ayn Rand's probably rolling over in her grave to think that happened in a Catholic church." Forget about rolling over, Michael. She might be assembling an army of the undead to take care of yo' ass.

House of Sand and Fog director Vadim Perelman will helm the project, and Wanted star Angelina Jolie is still confirmed as unassailable railroad magnate Dagny Taggart. Burns claims that four studios have already contacted him about international distribution rights, and suggests that if he acquires the rights to Rand's other smash The Fountainhead (they're currently held by Paramount), Jolie's life partner Brad Pitt would be interested in playing architectural gunslinger Howard Roark. [Box Office Mojo]