Earlier this month, HBO released a full-length trailer for the upcoming film Fahrenheit 451, starring Michael B. Jordan as protagonist Guy Montag. The film will also star Sofia Boutella (The Mummy, Star Trek: Beyond) as Clarisse McClellan, and Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water) as Captain Beatty. Adapted from Ray Bradbury’s original 1951 novel by the same name, the film is written and directed by Ramin Bahrani.
The novel is set in a dystopian future where fire-fighters burn books instead of putting out house fires (an impossibility, of course, because all houses are fireproof) and hunt down secret book hoarders. It follows Guy Montag, a lonely fire-fighter, who begins to question why his government outlawed books in the first place. After becoming strangely intrigued by his quirky, young, book-loving neighbour, Clarisse, Montag begins hoarding and reading the books he confiscates, until he is found out and must flee his own colleagues, or face the same fate he deals his victims.
First adapted for screen in 1966, Fahrenheit 451 starred Julie Christie as Clarisse/Linda Montag, Oskar Werner as Guy and Cyril Cusack as Captain Beatty. This earlier film follows roughly the same plot as the original book, but there seems to be some radical new interpretations in the upcoming version. For starters, there’s no casting mention of Montag’s wife from the original novel, Linda, and a number of new credited characters have been introduced. It looks like the new film will focus more on the relationship between Clarisse and Montag and there’s a new dark noir aesthetic providing a much needed update to the featured technology, much of which is becoming frighteningly close to being a reality. The trailer seems to draw strength from the current era of political misinformation and government propaganda, seen in one particular scene in the trailer featuring the American anti-terror slogan with a holographic eagle behind it. Smells like freedom to me. The upcoming film will extend the narrative beyond the novel’s cannon, with hints at underground rebellion and larger parts for Clarisse.
Side note: Ray Bradbury’s original novel was banned for a time in the US because, in the narrative, one of the books banned is the bible. Ironic.
You can watch both version of the trailer below:
Farenheit 451 is out in May 19th on HBO.