Ayn Rand (1905–1982), born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, was a Russian-born American philosopher best known for developing the philosophical system called Objectivis’ based on ‘rational self-interest’‚ and for her philosophical – ie unreadable – novel Atlas Shrugged. She was a fashionable and influential figure in post-War America and an enthusiatic Cold War warrior, testifing as a ‘friendly witness’ before the United States House Un-American Activities Committee; her writings attracted both enthusiastic admiration and scathing denunciations.
In The Passion of Ayn Rand much more attention was paid to Ayn Rand’s love life than to her ideas. There may have been some justification for this: I can’t remember a single thing she said, though I remember thinking that the one book of hers that I managed to finish was obnoxious. Why anyone would think Atlas Shrugged to be adaptable for the screen –as they apparently do – just bemuses me.
Helen Mirren won an Emmy (and was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild Award) for her performance as the dumpy and ugly Ayn Rand. Suzanne Benoit was key makeup artist and Regan Noble was key hair stylist.