Frank Darabont Talks Fahrenheit 451

Frank Darabont has wanted to film Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 for quite a long time. He's talked about it a lot more recently as the project he wants to do next. Now he tells SciFiWire that it's basically at the make or break point, and it all comes down to one thing: casting.

"Fahrenheit is the thing I'm trying to get up next, which is casting-dependent, so it's one of those," Darabont said. "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 [ed: trenches?] before I don't make that movie." What's the hurry? Darabont wants to start the film while Ray Bradbury (88 years old) is alive to see it. Without an actor big enough to justify the budget, it might not happen.

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. This is definitely going to be more than [The Mist], so those other considerations do come into play.

Darabont drenched The Mist in tension and anger, so Fahrenheit 451 could well come to life under his direction. I have a feeling he'd have a field day with a story set in a wild, callous, anti-intellectual America. The story, which Bradbury indicated was meant to critique a culture that increasingly reduced knowledge to factoids devoid of context, is certainly more relevant than ever. If he makes it, can't wait to read the reactions on Twitter!

Bradbury's novel has been filmed before, notably by French New Wave luminary Francois Truffaut with Oskar Werner (Jules and Jim) and Julie Christie. (Promo clip for Truffaut's version is below.) That version was slightly adventurous; not only was it the director's first color film and only film in English, he cast Julie Christie in two roles and used other tricks like having the credits spoken rather than printed on screen to represent a culture that rejects the printed word.