Fahrenheit 451

Whether you’re a grownup who read Ray Bradbury‘s Fahrenheit 451 in high school and loved it, or a current student who tends to watch movie adaptations at the last minute instead of actually cracking open the book, HBO Films has good news for you. They’ve put into development a new Fahrenheit 451 movie, setting 99 Homes helmer Ramin Bahrani to direct.

Deadline reports Bahrani will not only direct but also write and executive produce the Fahrenheit 451 movie. Alan Gasmer and Peter Jaysen are also producing. There’s no word yet about casting, or when the film might air. Fahrenheit 451 was previously adapted into feature film by François Truffaut in 1966, with Oskar Werner and Julie Christie in the lead roles. For the past several years there have been on-again, off-again efforts to launch another movie adaptation; Frank Darabont was involved at one point.

Bradbury’s literary classic takes place in a dystopian world (yes, youngsters, we olds were into dystopias long before The Hunger Games was even a twinkle in Suzanne Collins’ eye) in which books have been outlawed. Our protagonist is Guy Montag, a “fireman” whose job is to burn any contraband books. But after meeting an unusual young woman named Clarisse, he begins to question his mission and the rules of society itself. Though published in 1953, at the height of the McCarthy era, Fahrenheit 451‘s themes of dissent, censorship, and the power of knowledge have never stopped being relevant. Ironically, Fahrenheit 451 is itself frequently banned or challenged in American schools thanks in part to its coarse language.

Bahrani built a strong reputation for himself in the indie world with films like Man Push Cart and Chop Shop. His profile has grown in recent years with At Any Price and 99 Homes, which teamed him with bigger stars — Dennis Quaid and Zac Efron in the former and Michael Shannon and Andrew Garfield in the latter. His best films bristle with intelligence and empathy, so he should make a pretty great fit for Bradbury’s masterpiece.

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