Frank Darabont Talks Book Burning

It goes without saying that Frank Darabont knows how to make a dude cry. He doesn’t make wussy movies like The Notebook that tug at your heartstrings for superficial reasons. Instead, he beats you over the head with male relationships (friendship, father-son, etc.), makes you fall in love with the person he (actually, usually Stephen King) created, then just when he knows you can’t go back on that love, he takes it and hits you in the gut with it. He never steals your emotion; he earns it. And he hopes to earn that same feeling when he adapts Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.

The film has been in limbo for years, going through several directors, writers and actors until 2001 when Darabont revived the project. He was supposed to begin production after The Mist but “prior commitments” forced is star, Tom Hanks, to drop, and the flick has been in waiting every since.

Frank sat down with recently and answered a couple of questions about the adaptation’s status. “Hollywood doesn’t trust smart material,” he stated. He even used a specific example of a studio suit rejecting the movie: “I actually had a studio head read that script and say: ‘Wow, that's the best and smartest script that I've read since running this studio but I can't possibly greenlight it’ I asked why and he says ‘How am I going to get 13-year-olds to show up at the theater?’ And I said "Well, lets make a good movie and I bet that will take care of itself." Suffice to say, Darabont’s argument didn’t work.

Darabont went on to compare the difference between adapting two very different writers like Ray Bradbury and Stephen King. “They're both great, great, great storytellers. As long as you're just listening to the voice as honestly as you can you can't go too far off.”

So it seems it may still be awhile before we get to see Fahrenheit 451 (Darabont still has another King adaptation to work on), but it’s likely that the wait will be worth it. If Darabont could make a movie like The Mist introspective and thoughtful, I have no doubts in my mind that he is going to blow us all away when he adapts a seminal work like Bradbury’s.