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HBO is best-known for its variety of original series, ranging from Deadwood and True Detective to Game of Thrones. That said, the network has produced some pretty stellar movies as well, and it's now signed a pair of big actors for a new project. Michael B. Jordan of Creed and Michael Shannon of Man of Steel have signed on for a TV movie based on Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi novel Fahrenheit 451.
Fahrenheit 451 was published way back in 1953, and it has become one of the most famous dystopian books in literary history. The story is set in a future in which books and history are outlawed, and firemen are employed to burn whatever contraband books turn up. Mass media has replaced literature, and sensory overload has changed society. In the HBO adaptation, Michael B. Jordan will play young fireman Montag as he begins to question his role as a book burner, and Michael Shannon will play Montag's mentor Beatty, who is less willing to question society.
Ramin Bahrani is slated to direct Fahrenheit 451 in what will be another collaboration with Michael Shannon. The two first worked together for 99 Homes, and it should be interesting to see how this collaboration works out. Deadline reports that Bahrani is also on board as an executive producer, and he co-wrote the script with Amir Naderi. Michael B. Jordan is on board as an executive producer as well.
HBO won the rights to Fahrenheit 451 after a bidding war, which had HBO competing against companies like Hulu and Legendary. The network chose to adapt the novel into a TV movie rather than draw it out into a limited series or even ongoing show. It should be interesting to see how HBO actually handles the plot. Fahrenheit 451 was concerned with the destruction of knowledge and history via the burning of books, and the title itself refers to Bradbury's temperature at which book paper burns.
Now that we're in an era of tablets and e-readers, even mass book-burnings wouldn't result in their overall destruction. I'm guessing that the HBO version of the story will be set in an alternate reality rather than a dystopian future of the real world. After all, even if literal book-burnings don't pose the same threat to knowledge as they did generations ago, the concepts of censorship and suppression are pretty timeless and universal. I'd say that HBO could have a major hit with Fahrenheit 451.
Michael B. Jordan has spent a fair amount of time on the small screen, including a role on HBO's stellar The Wire, the long-running soap opera All My Children, and Friday Night Lights. He really hit the spotlight as star of Creed in 2015, and he landed a role in the upcoming Black Panther movie. For his part, Michael Shannon also made his name on HBO, playing Nelson Van Alden on Boardwalk Empire. Superman fans will also know him as General Zod from Man of Steel. The two should make for intriguing screen partners.