I don't want to focus so much on [President Donald Trump] because I don't want to excuse the 30 to 40 years prior to that; he's just an exaggeration of it now.
For those of you who've not read the Bradbury book on which Bahrani's film is based, Fahrenheit 451 is set in a future where media is tightly controlled by the government. Between the technological advancements in the last 20 years and politics, Bradbury's biggest concern about the erosion of culture is now.
Speaking at a panel during the TCA winter press tour, Bahrani - along with actress Sofia Boutella (her co-stars Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon were late-notice cancellations on the panel) - explained the "paramount" effect the internet had on his adaptation. But when Bradbury wrote his book it was set in the distant future; HBO's adaptation is set in "alternate tomorrow, right here right now", Bahrani warned.
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Unfortunately, Fahrenheit 451 feels more relevant today than anyone probably would've guessed upon publication. Bradbury was concerned about mass entertainment - Reader's Digest, short soundbites.
One critic wanted to know how he decided which books to burn in those sequences, and if he picked books that meant a lot to him, entirely missing the point of the novel and of Bahrani. There was no reason to put it in the future; it's just [set in] a odd tomorrow. He thought all that was going to destroy concepts of reading, thinking, knowledge. "He was anxious about reader's digest, he was concerned about quick short soundbites". We're all guilty about reading headlines.
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"Bradbury said we asked for this". In the movie, it's Sofia's character who says that to Michael.
Writer Ray Bradbury's 1953 novel, Fahrenheit 451, brings to life a dystopian American society where history is being rewritten and television reigns supreme, while literature is being forced to the brink of extinction by "firemen" tasked with burning books. The exact release date is yet to be declared.
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