Frank Darabont Talks Fahrenheit 451 Progress and Casting
One of literature's beloved novels, at least when it comes to American education, is Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury. This is one of those few great classic books that still hasn't had its Hollywood-ized tentpole big screen adaptation (although there was a version in 1966 from François Truffaut) but now is finally the time. Veteran Stephen King adapter Frank Darabont, who has adapted The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, and most recently The Mist, is taking on Fahrenheit 451 as his next film. Despite all the turmoil in Hollywood at the moment, Darabont said recently while promoting The Mist that "it feels like we're on track and it feels like it's gonna happen." And who does he have lined up for the lead role of Guy Montag?
The rumored choice for book burner Guy Montag has always been Tom Hanks, but he's got a busy schedule too, shooting another big novel adaptation early next year - Angels & Demons. However, MTV confirmed that Hanks is the one who is slated to play Montag and that things are coming together, although not finalized: "[Tom Hanks] has stated his intention to do the movie. I'm hoping that stays on track." Darabont worked with him previously on The Green Mile and he's enthusiastic to work with him again. "It's not a for-certain thing, but all indications are looking very, very good right now. I would love to work with him again. He'd be perfection."
Darabont may be perfection himself when it comes to adapting this book anyway, claiming "I've been wanting to make that movie since I was nine years old and I read Ray Bradbury's book." As for the story, how will Darabont tackle it and how will he approach it? "I don't want Montag to be the extraordinary hero. I think he's much more interesting if he's not the movie hero but a real guy." And if you've seen any of his three great movies, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile or Mist, you know that there's always a thrilling aspect to them.
"The thriller aspect is not to be underestimated," he asserted. "It's chock full of explosions and fires. If you read the book, the entire third act of the story is a chase. There's a lot of exciting and thrilling aspects to the tale. Flamethrowers and mechanical dogs? Come on, it's awesome! It's the human journey within the eye candy."
In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires -- they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal -- a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs… Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."