HBO Films has released the first teaser for Fahrenheit 451, its adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s seminal dystopia in which firemen protect people from the “dangerous” knowledge of books by burning every last tempting page. Black Panther’s Michael B. Jordan stars as fireman Guy Montag, at first a willing participant in a future where (according to the official synopsis from HBO) “media is an opiate, history is rewritten, and ‘firemen’ burn books,” yet who comes to question the system and his mentor Beatty (Michael Shannon). While the trailer is quite dramatic in the way we’ve become accustomed to in dystopian adaptations, it posits a fascinating future considering that this remake comes more than 60 years since the book’s publication.
While the future that Bradbury envisioned in 1953 is thematically very familiar to the underpinnings of the dystopian genre, he couldn’t have predicted all of the little touches in HBO’s trailer: the prevalence of surveillance cameras and constant feeling of being watched; people flailing through real-life wearing virtual reality goggles*; even the “SEE SOMETHING/SAY SOMETHING” hologram featuring a very patriotic bald eagle. It will be interesting to see how those adapting the classic book will draw from our current present to tell Bradbury’s enduring tale of censorship and the power, good and bad, of knowledge.
*That said, he was spot-on with Mildred’s “parlor wall family” of wall-sized television screens filled with rambling entertainers who feel almost like confidantes. We can’t wait to see how that concept takes on new weight in the context of social media, online interactions, and reality television.
Watch the teaser below:
Fahrenheit 451 will premiere sometime this May on HBO.