Ray Bradbury‘s classic novel Fahrenheit 451 is getting a sleek, neon-lit, star-studded update courtesy of HBO. The new Fahrenheit 451 trailer features Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon as futuristic fireman who burn books for a living. Sweat and tension follow.
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(Welcome to Nostalgia Bomb, a series where we take a look back on beloved childhood favorites and discern whether or not they’re actually any good. In this edition: Walt Disney’s live action adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s brilliant novel, Something Wicked This Way Comes.)
“My dad disappeared on a trip to the Thousand Islands when I was thirteen years old. My father and I had to go home without him.”
I wrote those lines over twenty years ago as the opening of a personal essay called “The Island of Loss and Pancakes,” and while I won’t burden you with the specifics of the tale the gist of it was this. My dad was once a man of vitality with a desire for exploration who’d take me boating, fishing, and camping at every opportunity, and when we weren’t off cruising the St. Lawrence River, we’d be exploring altogether different frontiers with our cutting-edge Commodore 64 computer or the building of a slot-car race track hidden in the ceiling and only accessible via an elaborate system of pulleys. There was always something shared between us, something we could do together or talk about, and then one day among the islands bordering New York and Canada… there wasn’t.
The passage of time and of adulthood in general had taken a toll on him, and while I didn’t understand his regrets and stresses then, the effect they had on me was both immediate and long-lasting. It affected the choices I made going forward, the dreams I pursued and the ones I let pass me by, and to the (already overdue) point of this very article it changed the way I respond to certain types of stories onscreen.
Like the 1983 adaptation of Ray Bradbury‘s Something Wicked This Way Comes.
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Posted on Wednesday, April 13th, 2016 by Angie Han
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.
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Whenever I stop to think about it, I’m always fairly amazed that the original Something Wicked This Way Comes doesn’t have a more enthusiastic pop-culture following. The Disney film, released in 1983, has a few big problems, sure. Yet it boasts a chilling autumnal atmosphere and an early performance from Jonathan Pryce. Furthermore, its story of a father/son pair, a dark carnival magician, and hidden desires given wing in a small town features several harrowing scenes that have always stayed with me since that first viewing in ’83.
Neither Disney nor the pop-culture machine have done much with the original, but the studio is handing the Ray Bradbury novel to Seth Grahame-Smith to adapt anew. He’ll draw up an outline for a Something Wicked This Way Comes remake before handing it off to a writer. Read More »
Ray Bradbury‘s work has been adapted for dozens of projects over the years. Most of those adaptations, however, are for short films and television; there are only a few feature films written by Bradbury or based on his work.
Producers keep trying to make Bradbury-based features, however. There has long been a version of The Martian Chronicles in development, for instance. Now Denise Di Novi and Alison Greenspan (The Lucky One, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) are working with MGM to adapt From the Dust Returned, which follows an orphan boy adopted by ghouls. Read More »
With the amount of remakes, reimaginings and retreads of old novels coming out of Hollywood, it’s stunning that no one has made a film adaptation of Ray Bradbury‘s uber-influential book The Martian Chronicles. Originally published in 1950, the collection of pseudo-linked short stories about humans leaving a devastated Earth to colonize Mars and all that comes with it, has had an almost infinite influence on science fiction and popular culture. Universal bought the film rights in 1997 but everyone from Steven Spielberg all the way down were unable to get the film off the ground. Those film rights recently reverted and found themselves up for grabs, so Paramount swooped in and will partner with producer John Davis, who owns the option to the material itself, to try and make Bradbury’s seminal work a reality. There’s more after the break. Read More »
Suddenly, space sells. Two stories today have it that Fox is launching back into the outer reaches of space, thanks to the success of Avatar. In addition to developing the sequel to James Cameron’s massively successful film, Fox 2000 is the lead contender to buy a spec called Ion, with Channing Tatum attached to star. Meanwhile, Fox-based producer John Davis has optioned Ray Bradbury‘s classic story collection The Martian Chronicles. Read More »
Even though legendary sci-fi author Ray Bradbury is ready to say “To hell with the Internet!”, it appears he’s willing to give television a bit more leeway. The author has signed on to develop a six-hour miniseries which will feature six of his short stories, each by a different director. The adapted stories aren’t known yet since each director will get to choose their favorite. The project is currently being shopped around to different networks—though if SyFy doesn’t snap this up, ima have to choke an Ewok.
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Editor’s Note: You probably know Alex Proyas as the director of films like The Crow, Dark City, Garage Days, I Robot and Knowing, but for the next week and a half the filmmaker has agreed to become a guest blogger on /Film. I asked Alex to blog about some of his influences, and you can now read the resulting blog post below.
I was too young to see The Exorcist in its first run at the theaters, but I remember reading the novel and being scared to death. Many years later when I was able to see the film, its impact was no less potent. I love thrillers with a spiritual aspect… simply because it centers around a danger out of human control. Sell the initial concept (brilliantly achieved by BLATTY), and you have the potential to create some of the most thrilling moments possible. Forget about the scary beats and cheap jumps which sustain most modern thrillers and horrors – I like a film that prolongs tension for so long that even a quick scene cut to a girl lying in bed with special effects makeup scares the hell out of you.
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“Sayonara, Bonfire of the Vanities!”
Frank Darabont‘s adaptation of the classic novel Fahrenheit 451 ranks right up there with Tarantino’s Inglorious Bastards, Fincher’s Rendezvous with Rama and Aronofsky’s take on Lone Wolf & Cub as an epic dream project that’s been discussed for ages. For nearly a year, Tom Hanks had been pegged for the 2009 film’s lead role of Guy Montag, a content fireman of the future who slowly realizes that his government occupation of burning books and oppressing book owners is nothing less than horrific.
Unfortch(-unately, by reader request) Hanks is no longer attached to what would have been his second collabo(-ration, by reader request) with the director after 1999’s so-so The Green Mile, according to Darabont…
“Mr. Hanks sadly and regretfully had to back out,” Darabont told MTV. “I was really looking forward to working with him again but his other commitments just precluded it. He had to take a step back.”
Darabont remains confident in his long percolating vision, and it sounds like the film won’t be sidetracked by the snag. But what actor is up to the challenge of portraying sci-fi author legend Ray Bradbury‘s disillusioned everyman in one of the great, prolific Man vs. The Man tales of all time?
“It needs to be somebody like [Hanks] who has the ability to trigger a greenlight but is also the right guy for the part. It’s a narrow target. It’s a short list of people,” Darabont sighed.
As a fan of the book who was never big on Francois Truffaut’s 1966 version, which always seemed more occupied with getting film students’ rocks off than being a worthy harbinger of doom, this quote from Darabont is particularly cool…
“I see this movie so clearly in my head. It’s flowing in my veins,” he said. And just because you think of books first when you think “Fahrenheit 451,” don’t expect something akin to Jane Austen, Darabont promised. He explained, “One character in the script says, ‘It’s not really even about books. It’s about control.’ It’s about the control of government and authority. It’s one of the greatest books ever written. It’s got all that great political stuff underneath the skin of it but really what it is is a great galloping tale.”
I haven’t yet seen The Mist, but Darabont seems to be getting a little angrier and darker with age and that’s always a good thing in my book. The exception being Craig Ferguson, who agreeably treats life like a beach as his hair goes grayer.
Discuss: Who should play Montag now that Hanks has lost his bookmark? Should Darabont go younger?