Hollywood’s latest adaptation of the books you read in grade school is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. HBO is bringing the not-so-dystopic novel to life this spring with Michael B. Jordan playing Guy Montag, a fireman assigned to burn books. (Fun fact: Paper will catch on fire, sans flame, at 451 degrees Fahrenheit.)
We say “not-so-dystopic novel” because the world we’re currently living in is eerily similar to that in Bradbury’s book. The government controls the information people consume through media restrictions and burn books that have the potential to spread subversive ideas. Sounds a lot like “stable genius” Donald Trump’s love affair with calling out “fake news” and the “crooked media”—except he’s not setting fire to books. No, his administration is bent on restricting the free internet through dismantling the Net Neutrality act. But hey, everything’s fine!
Anyway, if you didn’t read Bradbury’s book in school (or you skimmed its SparkNotes), Montag eventually meets a free-thinking girl, named Clarisse McClellan, who inspires him to consider what his book-burning is doing to society. Another Michael—Michael Shannon—will play Montag’s supervisor, Beatty, who doesn’t take too kindly to McClellan’s influence over his subordinate.
Considering this adaptation is a TV movie, it’s ironic that a sizeable chunk of Bradbury’s novel warns against the danger of television programming’s capability to ruin people’s lives. Director Ramin Bahrani has gone and updated the original story with some internet culture, too, seeing as YouTuber Lilly Singh is set to play a vlogger.
Sofia Boutella and Laura Harrier are also set to star in this true-to-form American horror story.