When Ryan spoke with Angelina Jolie last June, she had told us that her big-screen treatment of Ayn Rand's classic political novel Atlas Shrugged wasn't exactly ready for production. Last October, Lionsgate secured a writer for the film, but Jolie told us that "... we have not had all the pieces come together. There's not been a director that's right to come on, or all of those elements. So until it does, you know, I certainly don't want to be a part of something that's just put together to hit 'this date'". So here we are two months later, and Variety is now reporting that Vadim Perelman has been hired to direct the literary property, and also to perform a re-write on the script. Perelman will be updating the original draft written by Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace. If you're familiar with the 'heft' of Ayn Rand's novels, then you have an idea of how difficult it will be to trim down a 1,100-plus page novel into a two hour film.

Rumors of the project had been kicking around since last year, when in the height of all that "Brangelina" nonsense, there was talk that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would be working together on the film (rumors that have long since been discredited). But now that a director is in place, it seems the project is closer to becoming a reality. Vadim Perelman will be in Toronto later this week for TIFF to present his latest, In Bloom, with Uma Thurman and Evan Rachel Wood. Since Angelina Jolie is expected to be accompanying Brad Pitt to the festival, maybe they can make it a working vacation. Jolie is still shooting the comic-book adaptation Wanted and is already scheduled to start work this fall on Clint Eastwood's The Changeling. According to Variety, Lionsgate is planning a start date for Atlas Shrugged in early 2008 -- so much for taking a year off, huh Ang?