Fahrenheit 451 is one of those great novels that gets unfairly shoved to the side because it’s sci-fi. The dystopian, futuristic novel, about a future in which knowledge is not only disrespected but feared, has been a favorite of high school students for decades, sci-fi lovers and book lovers alike. And possibly the biggest fan of all has been Frank Darabont, the director of The Mist and The Shawshank Redemption who has dreamed for years of making a movie version of the book.

Now that dream has gotten a little bit further away. Tom Hanks has dropped out of playing the lead role, MTV Movies reports, which leaves the project pretty much dead in the water. It’s a harsh blow, Darabont admits. For a sci-fi project long in development, you need a leading actor who can automatically get a project off the ground—a guy like Hanks, basically, and pretty much no one else. “It’s a narrow target. It’s a short list of people,” Darabont told MTV.

And it’s really a shame because Darabont seemed to be putting his own spin on the material. “I see this movie so clearly in my head. It’s flowing in my veins,” he said. He describes Bradbury’s book as “a great galloping tale,” which means he’s focusing on the adventure aspects rather than the symbolic meaning behind the whole thing.

What a shame. Darabont probably still has enough pull in Hollywood to get the movie made regardless, but it probably won’t have nearly the same high profile without Hanks attached. I know people went crazy over The Mist last fall (hi, Josh!) and are anxious for what Darabont will do next, but sadly, Fahrenheit probably won’t be it.

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