HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 Adds Vlogger Lilly Singh
It’s always interesting when Hollywood decides to make one of your favorite books into a movie. The joy of seeing something you love on the big screen is tempered by the fact that you know they are going to rip it to shreds, leaving all your favorite parts either bastardized or out of the script completely. Now HBO has set its sights on the classic dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, and we have our first indication of the changes the writers have in store.
The adaptation was announced back in April, when it was also reported that Michael B. Jordan was set to star as Guy Montag alongside Oscar and Tony nominee Michael Shannon as Montag’s mentor and the leader of his group of firemen, Captain Beatty. Ramin Bahrani will direct from the script he co-wrote with Amir Naderi.
Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953 in the midst of McCarthyism, telling the story of a world were books have been banned because they may spread unpopular ideas that could upset people. Instead the masses spend their time with wall-sized television screens in drug-induced stupors. Anyone who is suspected of owning a book receives a visit from the Firemen, who set the books ablaze. Montag meets a young woman named Clarisse McClellan (played by Sophia Boutella in he new adaptation) who begins the process of opening Montag’s eyes to the superficiality of the world in which they live. In 1966 it was made into a film by French director François Truffaut.
One of the reasons the novel has remained such a classic is that the themes are timeless. Censorship hasn’t gone away and isn’t likely to, and I for one am anticipating binging several upcoming television series. The novel hits close to home on many levels, and the time is ripe for a remake. But Hollywood can’t leave well enough alone. In an attempt to modernize the story, the writers have added YouTube personality Lilly Singh to play a vlogger that reports propaganda on the actions of the Firemen to the populace. It’s a twist on the plot that should appeal to the younger viewers, but to those that love the novel this point might not bode so well. We’ll have to wait to see how well this Hollywood adaptation sticks to the spirit of the novel so many love.