Meet the New Members of the 'Atlas Shrugged' Franchise

The trailer for "Atlas Shrugged: Part II" has hit the web, and the blogs and mainstream media are reacting in the expected way.

They are either dismissing it or flat-out ignoring the fact that it looks a hundred times better than the first (which was still good) and has a real shot of connecting with audiences on October 12th.

Producers John Aglialoro and Harmon Kaslow are back, but they have brought in a completely new cast as well as a few fresh faces behind the scenes. Let's take a look at these new players and whether they are qualified to bring Ayn Rand's epic vision to the big screen.

Samantha Mathis (Dagny Taggart): Mathis will have the most to prove on screen when "Atlas" hits theaters. She's playing the difficult role of Dagny Taggart. She looks fully capable in the trailer which is why it's surprising to find out that this will probably be her biggest role yet. Her first role was in the Christian Slater film "Pump Up the Volume" in 1990, and she went on to star in films like John Woo's "Broken Arrow." She's flown under the radar for some time, but if the trailer for "Atlas" is any indicator then Mathis will shine come October.

Jason Beghe (Henry Rearden): Beghe will be another actor with big shoes to fill. However, he's a perfect fit for the role. Grant Bowler did a fine job in "Part I," but Beghe looks like he's bringing a macho gruff to the character that was missing in Bowler's cleaned-up performance. Beghe has been a familiar face for years with small roles in films like "The Next Three Days," but he has recently shined as Richard Bates on Showtime's "Californication." 

Esai Morales (Fransico d'Anconia): The character of d'Anconia wasn't given much attention in the first film. This "Atlas" looks like it's going to change that. Morales can be seen in the trailer giving one of d'Anconia's famous pro-capitalist speeches. Morales is another familiar face, having appeared in "La Bamba" as well as TV shows like "Jericho" and "Caprica." Morales will have one hell of a challenge bringing across the mysterious d'Anconia as well as his values and rhetoric, but Morales seems up to the challenge. 

D.B. Sweeney (John Galt): The veteran actor will forever by identified with the sweet hockey romance "The Cutting Edge." Sweeney's resume offers plenty of diverse projects, from last year's ambitious serial "The Event" to movies like "Memphis Belle" and "Miracle at St. Anna."

John Putch (Director): Yes. The man who directed "American Pie Presents: The Book of Love" will be bringing John Galt to the big screen. But, judging by the trailer, Putch is finally giving Rand's vision the epic visual style it deserves. His past credits include a lot of TV like "Scrubs" and "Cougar Town." That was all just practice. With 41 credits to his directing career, Putch looks like he's finally ready to give the world something special and distinguishable all wrapped in a capitalist bow.

Duncan Scott (Co-Writer): Scott is the most exciting addition to the new film, and he lends the most credibility. Scott owns Duncan Scott Productions which has brought forth a handful of pro-Ayn Rand documentaries and he helped to bring "We the Living" to American audiences. He's been brought in to consult on the new film's script which makes the new "Atlas" very exciting.


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