In this first teaser for HBO's movie adaptation of Ray Bradbury's 1953 dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury's vision of the future is as terrifying as ever.
The movie, which is set for an unspecified release date this spring, stars Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther), Michael Shannon (The Shape of Water), and Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Into Darkness). Although the teaser doesn't reveal much of the characters, it does offer clues as to the adaptation's aesthetic.
Bradbury's influential novel is set in a near-future where books are illegal. Guy Montag (Jordan) is a fireman, tasked with burning any books that he and his boss Captain Beatty (Shannon) discover during raids. But Montag's formerly unquestioning loyalty to the ministry falters after his wife attempts suicide, and he meets an unusual young woman named Clarisse (Boutella) who recently moved into his neighborhood.
There's something inherently ironic in adapting Fahrenheit 451 for the screen, given the book warns about the dangers of becoming addicted to the pacifying powers of TV. That being said, Fahrenheit 451's message about the evils of fascism and censorship is incredibly relevant right now given the political climate in the U.S.. Hopefully, this new adaptation will also reignite interest in Bradbury's book.
Director Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, Chop Shop) told IGN during a recent TV Critics' Association press tour panel that although aspects of the book have been modernized in the film, the core themes from the source material are more relevant than ever: "When you do an adaptation, you're going to change things. I tried to stay true to the themes, even if I changed certain characters and plotlines. To take them and modernize them. It wasn't easy [...] It's not just books. Culture is in the process of being eroded in the film."
Given how drastically the Internet has altered our culture's relationship to reading since the book's release, it'll be fascinating—and likely very chilling—to see a modern take on Fahrenheit 451.
Featured still from "Fahrenheit 451" via HBO