We are in constant fear of our society's future. And often those fears are attractive to use in entertainment vehicles. Whether it's natural disasters, ghosts, monsters or dystopian futures, as an audience we love to marvel at our worst-case scenarios looming in the background through the perspective of fictional characters.
Now, HBO is trying to put timeless and timely concerns on the screen with a new movie. Deadline is reporting that Michael B. Jordan (Fantastic 4, Fruitvale Station) and Michael Shannon (Nocturnal Animals, Man of Steel), will be headlining a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury's classic 1953 anti-censorship novel, Fahrenheit 451. In case you weren't assigned it in high school, don't worry, we got you covered...
What's The Book About?
The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman, through his misery-filled life in a war-torn dystopian future where books are now illegal (on the basis that their stories don't bring joy to people). In fact, books are burned on sight — by the firemen. (451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns.)
Due to that ban, the public's main focus is television. One fateful day, Montag's life changes when he meets a young girl, Clarisse, who has a passion for books. They develop a friendship that has them walking home together every day, discussing literature.
When Clarisse dies from being hit by a car, Montag's newfound love for books throws him into a direct confrontation with his mindless society and its government. He must evade government-controlled robotic dogs (yeah, that's a thing) and his house-burning coworkers as he tries to find purpose in life. All caught up? Perfect, let's move on...
The Film's Cast
Michael B. Jordan will play our conflicted protagonist, Guy Montag. Michael Shannon will be in charge of bringing to life his overbearing firefighter boss, Captain Beatty, a man who loved books but learned to hate them after they became illegal.
Sadly, that's all we have so far in terms of casting. But there's surely more to come, as the book has many supporting characters.
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Similarly, there's very little information on what route the adaptation will take, but the book has a concept that strangely fits our technology-obsessed culture and the fear of where it may lead us. The sense that we lose touch with what's important thanks to the ever-expanding world of technology, social media and binge-worthy entertainment. Fahrenheit 451 was like an episode of Black Mirror decades before that cerebral, disturbing show existed.
Of course, there will have to be some considerable reworking around that original concept. The book dealt with mindless TV that did nothing more than help people cope with the atrocities of war. In reality, TV is now a medium that can delve into very complex and intelligent storylines regardless of the topic at hand. So it will be interesting to see how the filmmakers handle this exploration of our modern mindset through the novel's structure.
Fahrenheit is being directed by Ramin Bahri (99 Homes) with a script written by himself and Amir Naderi (99 Homes).
Are you excited for HBO's Fahrenheit 451? What would you like to see in it, and what changes from the book? Let me know in the comments!