Of Course Zack Snyder Wants To Adapt An Ayn Rand Novel

He's working on THE FOUNTAINHEAD.

I've never fully understood Zack Snyder's politics. It's hard to judge them based on the movies he makes because so many of them are adaptations, and he is so faithful to what he's adapting. Yes, 300 is a paean to fascism but that's Miller's source material at work. Snyder isn't really bringing anything that wasn't already in the militaristic, jingoistic comic. I don't think he violates Alan Moore's politics in Watchmen, which are complicated but ultimately humane in way that Miller isn't. His one truly original film, Sucker Punch, makes a lot of effort to be a girl power story that could also be read as pro-choice (it's all about a woman gaining agency over her own body, albeit in the face of a pending lobotomy). Man of Steel is... weird, but it's hard to say where the weirdness comes from. Is it intended, or is it a result of a troubled development process? 

But knowing that Snyder loves Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead a lot of things snap into place. Especially things about Man of Steel and Pa Kent's absolutely baffling worldview: Snyder's an Objectivist. He believes in what Objectivists call 'rational self-interest,' which others might call 'radical selfishness,' which is the belief that the ultimate moral duty you have is to make yourself happy. Honestly, all the Pa Kent stuff becomes crystal clear now - Man of Steel is about a superhero who only becomes a superhero when it is in his own self-interest (ie, the planet's about to get destroyed). Otherwise he's happy keeping his powers to himself, seeing no need to use them to help others.

Talking to the Hollywood Reporter Snyder says that he wants to go back to the wellspring of Objectivist thought, Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead, the novel that started it all. It's pretty bad, but it's also super fucking insane. It's about this guy, Howard Roark, who is a complete and total asshole. He's the hero. He's an architect who is committed to his own vision and who basically hates everybody else who sees the world differently than he does. He gets kicked out of school and fired because he's such an immense cock who is impossible to be around. Again, he's the hero. He rapes a lady and she later marries him. He also blows up a building because it wasn't built to his vision. He ends up on trial but gets acquitted when he gives a big stupid speech about how important the ego is. It's really bugfuck nuts, and it's exactly the kind of shit young white guys who are obsessed with Batman eat up. 

"I've always felt like The Fountainhead was such a thesis on the creative process and what it is to create something," Snyder says. "Warner Bros. owns [Ayn Rand’s] script and I’ve just been working on that a little bit."

The script he's talking about is, I assume, what Rand wrote for the 1944 King Vidor adaptation starring Gary Cooper. At the time of release she said she liked the movie, which she said was faithful, but later in life she denounced it. She was horrible, though, so who knows. 

Snyder won't be getting The Fountainhead going any time this decade. He's shooting Justice League in April and then shooting the sequel sometime after that. I imagine he might step away from four superhero movies in a row and need a break, and perhaps, if these films make enough money, he'll cash in his Warner Bros chips to make a truly fucking weird movie.