In recent years, television has leapt to reboot old shows, rolling out modern takes on everything from Gilmore Girls to The X-Files. But now it seems attention has shifted to page-to-screen revivals. Netflix unveiled 13 Reasons Why — a spin on Jay Asher’s bestselling YA novel — in March; Big Little Lies, based on Liane Moriarity’s 2014 novel, wrapped its limited run on HBO earlier this month; and Hulu will debut its re-imagining of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on April 26.
Also in the works is another literary classic: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, a 1953 dystopian tale often considered a cornerstone for high school English classes. The project, which is currently in development at HBO, was first announced last spring. At the time, no castings had been shared, though 99 Homes‘ Ramin Bahrani was confirmed to write and direct.
Now, one year later, the TV movie has found its leading man in Michael B. Jordan (Creed, Fantastic Four), THR reports. Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire, Man of Steel), who starred in Bahrani’s 99 Homes, will also appear in a key supporting role. The project’s premise is described as “a future where media is an opiate, history is outlawed and firemen burn books.” Jordan will play Montag, a young fireman who struggles to regain his humanity when he forsakes his world and battles Beatty (Shannon), his mentor and fireman captain.
Behind the scenes, Bahrani’s 99 Homes collaborator Amir Naderi has been tapped to co-write, while Jordan will serve as an executive producer alongside Sarah Green, Alan Gasmer, Peter Jaysen, and Bahrani.
HBO is an apt home for the feature, as it has proved itself a capable network when handling potentially tough material. The novel has been adapted several times over the years, including Francois Truffault’s 1966 film as well as a 1979 stage version with Bradbury attached. But if Fahrenheit 451 falls in line with HBO’s other premium content, it will be given a fresh, contemporary treatment.
Jordan, too, is a strong choice. His most recent major project was a starring turn in Ryan Coogler’s Creed (2015), for which his performance was widely praised. He’s set to reprise that role and will also be appearing in Black Panther in February. A premiere date has not yet been announced for Fahrenheit 451, but Jordan will certainly have momentum if its production doesn’t trail too long.
Based on what’s begun to take shape thus far, it sounds like a compelling effort. Here’s to hoping it follows through.