HBO drops a fiery new teaser for Fahrenheit 451, starring Michael B. Jordan as a dystopian fireman. Jordan's co-star Michael Shannon promises a "dark, gritty" take on Ray Bradbury's classic story. Spider-Man: Homecoming's Laura Harrier and The Mummy's Sofia Boutella also star. Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes) directed the TV movie and also wrote the script.
Guy Montag (Jordan) lives the dream in a future where those in power use the media to control the minds of the people. In this world, books are outlawed to prevent the spread of subversive ideas. Montag works as a fireman...not putting fires out, but burning books. When Montag meets a free-thinking young woman named Clarisse (Boutella), he begins to question the rules of this oppressive society. Montag's own increasingly subversive activities put him in conflict with his supervisor Beatty (Shannon).
HBO has revealed only a few small glimpses of their modernized Fahrenheit 451 adaptation, including a first-look image featuring Jordan and Shannon. Now the network has offered up a teaser trailer, albeit one without actual footage from the film. See the fiery teaser above.
The teaser begins with a close-up image of a book in flames. We then see a man holding a burning book which he drops onto a pile of other classic works of fiction. A menacing fireman in a black helmet holds a flamethrower. Flames shoot from the faceless man's weapon, setting the pile of books alight. The basic idea comes across: Fahrenheit 451 is about people burning books with flamethrowers. But of course the movie will be a whole lot more than that.
With its themes of mind control via media, Fahrenheit 451 arguably seems more relevant today than when first published in 1953. Many of the book's details proved prescient, including its depiction of how television would come to rule people's lives. Perhaps there's a certain irony in a TV movie of Fahrenheit 451, a book that basically viewed TV as evil. It will be interesting to see how the new movie updates Bradbury's story to tackle the modern media landscape. YouTube star Lilly Singh plays a vlogger, so we know the internet exists in the movie's universe. In many ways, the real world of modern media goes far beyond anything the uncannily seer-like Bradbury envisioned. The glimmer of hope in the dystopian gloom is Guy Montag's dawning sense of curiosity, which causes him to push back against society's brainwashing.
Fahrenheit 451 debuts in Spring, 2018 on HBO.