'Fahrenheit 451' brings Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel to life on HBO

The Michael B Jordan and Michael Shannon starrer brings to life a world where the media is the opiate,facts and history are rewritten and "firemen" burn books


                            'Fahrenheit 451' brings Ray Bradbury's dystopian novel to life on HBO

Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon will bee seen together for HBO's 'Fahrenheit 451' which is all set to make its debut on May 19.

The drama is based on Ray Bradbury’s classic novel of the same name, and depicts a dystopian future where the media is an opiate, facts and history are rewritten, and “firemen” burn books.

Actor Michael B. Jordan (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Actor Michael B. Jordan (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)

The drama has been directed by Ramin Bahrani from an adapted screenplay by Ramin Bahrani & Amir Naderi. 

Jordan portrays Montag, a young fireman who begins to question his beliefs and turns against his friend and mentor, Captain Beatty, played by Shannon.

While Sofia Boutella stars as Clarisse, an informant who becomes newly politicized through her interactions with Montag.

The cast also includes Lilly Singh as Raven, a social media vlogger who works with the fire department to spread the Ministry’s propaganda by broadcasting its fire-shows to fans; Khandi Alexander as Toni Morrison, leader of the underground effort to memorize and preserve books and knowledge; Martin Donovan as Commissioner Nyari, Beatty’s superior; and Dylan Taylor as Fireman Douglas, Montag’s rival firefighter.

Michael Shannon (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
Michael Shannon (Photo by Andrew Toth/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)

“I have always loved Ray Bradbury’s prophetic novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’,” says Ramin. 

"The concept is so provocative. Three years ago, I started to think about it again, because the world was frighteningly catching up to what he had envisioned. Bradbury said that we demanded, we elected, for the world to become this way. That’s different than having a totalitarian government take over. I found that to be true because we have willingly given up our knowledge, identity, books, history, dreams, culture – everything – to tech companies, big business, and politicians.”

Michael believes that it is the best time for the drama to come out. "This is a good time for FAHRENHEIT 451 to come out because it seems like we are drifting away from pure information as a society," he said.

"Everything now is more oriented to opinion and propaganda, and the technology that’s available is allowing us to create a dangerous non-reality."

He adds, "For my character Beatty, it’s not even important whether something is a lie or the truth. That’s an antiquated notion, and that’s something we’re seeing in our culture today. But my own personal mantra is ‘pay attention’ – we think we’re getting all the information and facts, but often you can’t rely on the validity of what you’re reading or seeing these days.”

On the other hand, Michael thinks his character in the drama is that of the 'golden boy'.

"He’s the golden boy, you know? And with that type of pressure on him, there’s also a pressure to continue down that path – not to go back, not to turn left, not to make any mistakes," he says. 

"I think the message of the film and the book is very important today when our freedom of choice and freedom of speech – our rights as human beings – are being tested. Don’t always do what you’re told. Do what you feel is right. That’s something my character Montag learns as he starts to question what the Ministry taught him and slowly but surely begins to think for himself. Know that you have freedom of choice. Don’t rely on someone else to tell you what is true or what your reality is.”