When word hit earlier today that a micro-budgeted adaptation of Atlas Shrugged had started filming with no stars attached and a first-time feature director in charge, it seemed something had gone seriously wrong since the days when Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron were considering starring. The problem was that rights holder John Aglialoro would lose them if he didn't start filming by June 11, but apparently as he frantically put things into place to meet the deadline, a key person fell out: the director.

Stephen Polk, another first-timer, had been set to direct the film as of late May, but when the production was announced today his name was nowhere in sight. Now he's taking to Deadline Hollywood with his complaints, claiming he was devastated to be replaced at the last minute by director Paul Johansson and that it's still possible he'll take legal action against the film's producer. It's unclear how strong a case he would have, or even if this production has enough money to be worth suing.

Deadline points out that this may be the kind of situation where the rights holder makes a movie just to hang on to them with no intention of actually releasing it, like what happened with the Roger Corman-directed Fantastic Four movie back in 1993. That would explain a whole lot of the weird casting decision and generally rushed process, but still probably won't placate the devoted Rand fans-- not to mention jilted director Polk.

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