Mark Pellegrino Ayn Rand Center Latin America webinar

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This is my summary of Mark’s comments — typed as he was speaking so I may have have missed or mistyped a few things. If you want to quote Mark’s words, please check the video yourself or email me for help extracting an exact quote.


  • Mark used to be a typical leftist and an environmentalist. He first came across Rand’s ideas after a book exchange with someone in his acting class who he could never beat in arguments. Mark was given The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged — it changed his life. Mark doesn’t think his books had much impact on his friend. He’s read The Fountainhead twice and is going back through Atlas Shrugged now.
  • Mark read The Fountainhead first and felt he was a mix of Keating and Rourke, but as he didn’t see any way to merge those two elements again, it was very depressing. After reading, Mark lay on the grass, crying with traffic going by because he wasn’t aware there were any tools. His advice to anyone reading who sees themselves in the heroes and villains: don’t feel bad. Learning about and applying the philosophy symbolically kills the villain in you, and the healthy part of you starts to take over.
  • There are no particular passages that stand out in his memory, but Mark found the image of Rourke standing on top of his building in triumph was a beautiful moment after everything he’d gone through. He started to model himself after the artist who goes his own way.
  • Mark read everything Rand wrote but didn’t become a serious student until about six years ago. It took a long time for some of the fundamentals to sink in. In particular, it took him a long time to let go of religion.
  • Since then, he’s started studying and becoming an activist online. He wants to fight the anti-philosophy or nihilism that’s been in universities for years.


  • Mark talked about capitalism and why it’s a more coherent ideal than conservatism and libertarianism. The Capitalist Party is different because it understands liberty’s purpose is reason.
  • Mark and the American Capitalist Party have big plans for their website — loading it with content and making it interactive and visually attractive. Then they’re looking to get a local candidate elected.
  • There are some people on the left in Hollywood who are receptive to the liberalism in Mark’s ideas and some conservatives who keep quiet but are silently cheering him on. Because people can’t always see outside the left-right binary, Mark sometimes falls between the cracks. But he’s aware that might change, and it might become more dangerous for outsiders like him.


  • Some of Mark’s acting is material written from a perspective that he disagrees with, but he doesn’t mind as long as it’s not real.
  • He didn’t audition for a political project that he didn’t agree with but doesn’t have any problem with imaginary characters such as Lucifer.
  • Objectivism helps Mark see more in the material, more of the humanities. Acting teachers often focus on instincts and intuition and getting out of your head, which can make an actor reason averse. The perfect actor is an integration of both emotion and intelligence.
  • Mark responds to some art other objectivists wouldn’t like, but he doesn’t like the incoherent stories that are used in some plays now.
  • Mark’s approach to playing a character whose philosophy is antithetical to his is use as-ifs to find his way into the part. For example, he played a total asshole in Dexter. He didn’t try to identify with a drug-taking wife-beating asshole but looked at what his character was trying to do and made it about a man who wants to reunite with his family. Similarly, Lucifer is a being who is seeking revenge against the father who unjustly penalised him and hurt him deliberately. Lucifer’s cause is justice. Mark said that when you’re getting inside the psychology of the character, you’re not putting on a skin, you’re a human with your own values and you need to align those values with aspects of the character. Find the problem, be present in the moment, value what you’re seeking in the scene, and let the audience act for you; they’re suspending disbelief.
  • Mark plans to continue as an actor unless Hollywood has other plans for him. He can work until he’s 90 if they’ll let him. His alternative is to work as a teacher … which he can also do until he’s 90. He has a show in the works, but didn’t mention which network to avoid feeding the trolls.
  • A character he would like to play is Quasimodo. He’d like to see Quasimodo played as a proud fierce monster.
  • Of the movies based on Rand’s works, Mark liked The Fountainhead but didn’t think the casting was right. He was supposed to audition for Atlas Shrugged, but didn’t because the script was awful; just a transcription of the book. He’s currently working with two writers who are doing something that might be amazing — this sounds very interesting!

Cancel culture

  • Mark’s had two cancel culture encounters with people spreading lies about him online. One a few years ago where the organisers created a petition (which was banned because it was so mean). His fans set up a much bigger counter-position, and he started campaigning against bullying and did a couple of podcasts. People spread lies, but clip real tweets to make it look like he was saying something else.
  • More recently, Mark was attached by teenagers just before the pandemic. These teens were worse because they enjoy hurting people and want to get attention and followers. Being able to goad him into a fight is how they do that. He’s working on a project that he can’t say much about yet but hopes the bullies days are numbered and that those who are slandering people are going to be in a whole lot of trouble.
  • Mark only thinks there’s no hope for a small minority of the troublemakers, the leaders. The ones going along with the crowd are probably reachable through reason.
  • Mark wants people to put the guardians’ symbol 😈 Guardian 😇 on their social media profiles and stand up to bullies right from the start. Staying quiet means you will be the next victim.
  • For actors, Mark doesn’t suggest hiding their ideas but said there’s nothing more annoying that somebody preaching at you all the time, adding that objectivism is a tool to help you navigate the world, not the world. It’s fine to just tell people you disagree with them, and then explain more if they ask.
  • His advice for people in entertainment is not to give up, get on stage three times a week and be in front of people. Be the first to volunteer in class to do a scene. Mark’s mentor said it takes 20 years to make an actor; not to learn the technique, to get out of your own way.

Horror movies

  • Mark’s love of horror goes back to watching scary movies on TV with his mom and watching The Twilight Zone with his step-brother. He associates it with friendship and family.