Frank Darabont is currently putting the wraps on his adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist, an adaptation of one of my favorite King stories. It’s already been announced that another King project is on the horizon for the Shawshank Redemption director, but before he moves on to that, he’s adapting a more classic piece of literature: Fahrenheit 451.

There is already an adaptation of Fahrenheit out there, adapted by Fracois Truffaunt and starring Oskar Werner as Guy Montag, the story’s protagonist who questions why firemen burn books. There are some really cool things about Truffaunt’s adaptation, such as the verbal opening credits (because reading is bad), but it’s also seriously dated as a piece from the ‘60s and lacks some of the things I love about Ray Bradbury’s novel, such as the hound.

Anyone familiar with the novel knows that a movie adaptation lives or dies on the character of Montag. Werner’s character was pretty good, but if Ain’t It Cool’s scoop is right, Darabont just got a better Montag. This is a character that really needs to represent the Everyman, but yet question authority and be willing to evolve as a person in a society that frowns on that. According to the site, Tom Hanks is already signed up to play the role.

Who better in Hollywood today to play the Everyman than Tom Hanks. Despite his willing to soil his reputation in The Simpsons Movie (or perhaps because of it), Hanks is one of the nicest guys out there. His character work in The Da Vinci Code wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t a good story for that character – that was a character that really had no interest in the quest he was pursuing. Montag, on the other hand, really is interested even though it could cost him everything he holds dear. I’d love to see Hanks play that. Of course, the other names that have been tossed around, like Matt Damon or Paul Bettany, aren’t bad either (especially the latter), but Hanks would be infinitely cooler.

This gets me excited about a new version of Fahrenheit. I have no doubt Darabont can make the film more true to Bradbury’s original novel thanks to today’s technology, and his past movies indicate this is the guy to be making this movie. If Hanks is his Montag, this could become an instant classic on par with Shawshank.

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