A hot new trailer for HBO's adaptation of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is burning a hole through the Internet and it puts a greater focus on the moral dilemma faced by Michael B. Jordan's Guy Montag. By the start of the trailer, he's speaking to a crowd of young people, proud that the country's firemen have burned almost every book in the nation.
By the end, however, he's joining up with a resistance group devoted to saving humanity's literary traditions. Sofia Boutella (Star Trek: Beyond, The Mummy) makes her debut in the trailer as Clarisse, Montag's free-spirited neighbor, who sets him on a path of defying the established system of book burning.
Montag's character is seen reading two books that reflect the plot: Franz Kafka's The Metamorphosis and Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Notes from Underground. The former is about a man who changes from man to giant insect, a parallel to Guy's change of heart about destroying literature. The latter deals with a bitter man's alienation from modern society, mirroring the main character's own disillusionment with the mainstream hatred toward books.
Guy's superiors know something is off. His vitals are abnormal and he's asking dangerous questions about whether or not firemen used to put out blazes instead of starting them. Michael Shannon is menacing as ever, playing Montag's boss Captain Beatty, lecturing his subordinate on the dangers of books. "We are not born equal," says Beatty, "we must be made equal by the fire and then...we can be happy."
With obvious traces of Blade Runner and Minority Report coursing through the veins of this trailer, it seems like HBO's take on Bradbury's work will be just as much of a conspiracy-action thriller as it will be a morality (and Orwellian) tale about the dangers of suppressing knowledge. And that's not necessarily a bad thing since you have to make things a little more exciting and thrilling for the audience watching at home whereas the novel is a little more impenetrable and slow-moving — at least in the beginning.
Directed by Ramin Bahrani, Fahrenheit 451 premieres on HBO Saturday, May 19. Laura Harrier, Maya Lewis, Lilly Singh, and Martin Donovan all co-star alongside Jordan, Boutella, and Shannon.