Black Panther supervillian Michael B. Jordan stars in the re-boot of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel about a future where all books are banned as firefighter Guy Montag. Also in the film are Michael Shannon as Beatty, Montag’s boss, and Sofia Boutella as Clarisse McClellan, the teenage girl who makes Montag begin to see things differently. Though the novel imagining this bleak future was first published in 1953, it’s hard not to compare some of the details of the trailer with the specifics of living in 2018 America — like when Beatty’s voiceover explains, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing….News. Facts,” as Montag considers a hologram of an eagle. The novel follows Montag as he begins to question the merits of a book-free society, but it also deals with a population whose attention is grabbed by the kind of endless entertainment provided by screens Bradbury could only imagine but are now all but taken for granted. Expect a kind of too-close-to-home queasiness as you take in the otherwise beautiful site of Jordan in firelight, most likely acting the hell out of any given scene.
Classic dystopian fiction has been having a bit of a pop-culture renaissance since our current political climate has tipped toward dystopia. Last year, a theatrical adaptation of George Orwell’s 1984 ran on Broadway, while the novel hit the top of the Amazon best-seller list in early 2017. And, of course, Margaret Atwood’s terrifying portrait of the future, The Handmaid’s Tale, became one of last year’s biggest shows (and picked up eight Emmys). Maybe
Fahrenheit 451 will premiere on HBO in May.