This 'Fahrenheit 451' Featurette Hits Too Close to Home | The Mary Sue
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This Behind-the-Scenes Look at HBO’s Fahrenheit 451 Hits a Little Too Close to Home

The classic Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451, was already eerily familiar when it was first published in 1953, shortly after the end of WWII, when fascism was still fresh on the world’s mind. Now, at a time when our world seems to be leaning in that direction once again, HBO is giving us Bradbury’s novel as a film for a modern audience. Stars Michael B. Jordan, Michael Shannon, and Sofia Boutella take us behind the scenes of the adaptation.

Jordan explains how Montag the fireman, who is responsible for burning books (and in the case of this modern adaptation, servers and devices, too), believes he’s doing good work. “Montag calls himself a walking incinerator. He’s wiping [out] an illness. He’s curing these people of a sickness.” Yet, “the more Montag interacts with people, the more he starts to feel his humanity.”

What’s particularly creepy are the modern flourishes. It’s easy to think of Fahrenheit 451 as a product of its time, a holdover describing something that could never happen now. But then you see Harry Potter in a pile of burning books, and think about all the parents who protest that series and try to get it banned from schools because it’ll turn their children into witches or something.

You see Jordan’s Montag destroying a server, and are forced to think about things like net neutrality and internet privacy.

Fahrenheit 451 was never just about books. It’s about controlling people’s access to information, so that it’s easier to control them.

Fahrenheit 451 premieres May 19 at 8pm on HBO.

(via HBO on YouTube, image: screencap/HBO)

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