George Orwell’s 1984 has been getting a lot of love in 2017, topping the Amazon best-seller list and heading to Broadway as a theatrical adaptation. But 1984 isn’t the only midcentury dystopian novel with a number in the title that’s relevant to the current state of the nation: HBO has seen fit to adapt Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 into a new film, with Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon set to star.
Fahrenheit 451 is set in a future in which books are banned in favor of more immediate, mindless escapism, including massive television screens that take up entire walls. Creed star Jordan will play Guy Montag, a fireman whose job is burning contraband books rather than putting out fires. Shannon, fresh off his Oscar nomination for Nocturnal Animals, will play Beatty, his captain, while Ramin Bahrani, who previously worked with Shannon on 99 Homes, will direct.
Despite some other attempts to adapt Bradbury’s novel for the screen over the years, a 1966 cult film by French director François Truffaut remains the only notable screen adaptation so far. The book’s themes around state-sanctioned censorship and the dangers of ignorance are universal, but it’s not such a stretch to see why HBO thinks the time is ripe for a new version.