Zack Snyder has talked about working on an adaptation of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead since 2016, but now the director is saying this project will be his next film.
Snyder responded to questions from fans on Vero, the social media site he often posts behind-the-scenes photos, about his current project. Snyder didn’t provide any more details, but his new comment confirms the project has been in development for years.
“I’ve always felt like The Fountainhead was such a thesis on the creative process and what it is to create something,” Snyder told The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. “Warner Bros. owns [Ayn Rand’s] script and I’ve just been working on that a little bit.”
Snyder’s announcement and continued endorsement of Rand’s controversial novel haven’t gone unnoticed. The Fountainhead, released in 1943, is about a young architect who refuses to constrain his visions just to appease other architects. His ideas are modernist and, despite the backlash he receives, the architect refuses to change his own beliefs just to fit in. The Fountainhead is, at its core, a book about the supposed struggles individuals have to go through and the godawful creative stifling that comes with conformity. (Hmm.)
That’s not entirely what makes it controversial, of course. Rand is accused of painting a world without any sympathetic characters and portraying female characters as less than men; not as able as their male counterparts, and existing just to serve mens needs. Critics have also accused Rand of treating rape like an insignificant detail; a rape occurs during the first encounter between Rand’s main protagonist, Howard Roark, and his partner, Dominique Francon.
It’s a problematic book, but it’s been adapted for film before. A 1949 film starring Gary Cooper managed to bring it to screen pretty adequately. But people have suggested that Snyder, best known for creating grim, bleak superhero movies with unlikable characters and subverted female roles, isn’t the best man for adapting The Fountainhead. As The A.V. Club said in 2016:
Of course, there is the possibility that Snyder doesn’t really care what Rand would’ve thought and he just thinks The Fountainhead is cool story about a guy who makes awesome skyscrapers. That’s about the same level of depth he brought to his Watchmen adaptation, his 300 adaptation, and all of his other movies, so maybe his Fountainhead will be less about celebrating a gross ideology and more about how badass it is to see a guy design buildings in slow-motion.
Snyder didn’t mention when the movie would be finished, but we’ve reached out to Warner Bros. for more information.