Why director Frank Darabont says it's make-or-break time for his Fahrenheit 451 movie

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Dec 14, 2012, 3:54 PM EST

Writer/director Frank Darabont has been talking about adapting Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 for at least a decade. He got sidetracked by writing gigs on Indiana Jones IV (not, according to him, what became Kingdom of the Crystal Skull) and Mission: Impossible III, as well as directing his own script of The Mist.

But at the Saturn Awards Wednesday night in Burbank, Calif., where he won an award for best DVD special edition release for The Mist, Darabont said it's make-or-break time for the film.

"Fahrenheit is the thing I'm trying to get up next, which is casting-dependent, so it's one of those," Darabont said in an exclusive interview. "I'm out to somebody at the moment, fingers crossed, because, boy, do I want to make that movie. I'm not giving up. I'll die in the traces before I don't make that movie."

This actor is of a clout that could get a medium-budget sci-fi film made, but losing him could be the final blow in a tumultuous development. "Yeah, it's not one of those movies that are vastly expensive by any contemporary standard, but money is still money, and it's of a price that requires somebody that will justify that investment," Darabont said, without identifying the actor. "This is definitely going to be more than [The Mist], so those other considerations do come into play."

Certainly Darabont could shop the script to other actors, but he has a personal deadline. "I promised myself that it would at least go into production while Ray Bradbury were still with us," Darabont said. "It's not like I think he's going to leave tomorrow, but he's not getting any younger. So I have an emotional commitment to wanting to get the wheels well and truly in motion while he's still here to enjoy that."