Thanks to the bumbling of the Atlas Movie producers, the Francisco d’Anconia of the movie bares little resemblance to the greatness of the character shown in Ayn Rand’s epic novel. The Ayn Rand Novels site has posted an excellent audio lecture by Shoshana Milgram on The Spirit of Francisco, that is definitely worth a listen.
“Francisco, more than anyone else,” commented Ayn Rand in 1961, “seems to have been Minerva in my mind—he came in ready-made.” Her journals on Atlas Shrugged contain few notes on the role of this major figure in the novel, yet he is perhaps her most vivid fictional characterization. Francisco d’Anconia—a key link between Atlantis and the outside world—epitomizes relentless ambition, elegant self-confidence and radiant joy.
This lecture, which draws on Ayn Rand’s hand-edited manuscripts, contrasts her revisions in refining this “ready-made” character, with the changes she made in the characters from all her novels for whom she had prepared extensive notes (such as Hank Rearden and Howard Roark).