Dystopianists rejoice! HBO Films is finally blazing new ground with their adaptation of Ray Bradbury's classic Fahrenheit 451, and with some serious talent, no less.
Almost exactly a year ago, we got word that director Ramin Bahrani would be helming and co-writing the project for HBO. Now we're finding out he'll be joined by his 99 Homes star, Oscar nominee Michael Shannon, as well as Creed star Michael B. Jordan.
It's been years since François Truffaut gave us a proper Fahrenheit adaptation, back in 1966. Warner Bros. had been trying to develop a remake for a good long while, too, with names like Frank Darabont and Mel Gibson coming and going. But HBO outbid a slew of contenders for the rights last year, so we've been eagerly expecting forward progress.
Now, Jordan is set to take on the film's protagonist, Montag, the young fireman whose job in this dystopian future is to burn books, which have been banned in favor of much more easily digested media.
After befriending an eccentric teenage girl, Clarisse, and her subsequent disappearance, Montag begins to illegally stash some of the books he's supposed to be burning.
Shannon plays Montag's fire chief and mentor, Captain Beatty, who ends up not being the greatest role model for a burgeoning free-thinker.
Both Shannon and Jordan are hot right now, with critics and fans alike. Shannon just deservedly received a supporting actor Oscar nom for Nocturnal Animals, and of course played General Zod in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Besides Creed, Jordan wowed critics in Fruitvale Station, and his geek cred will only grow when he appears as Erik Killmonger in 2018's Black Panther, having already starred in Chronicle and Fantastic Four.
Here's the full synopsis, via the venerable novel's publisher, Simon & Schuster:
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
When Bradbury wrote the novel in 1953, he did so in response to McCarthyism, and the paranoid, potentially despotic state of American politics. All these years later, it's not hard to find relevance in today's charged political environment. Which makes this casting news all the more exciting, don't you think?