HBO’s ‘Fahrenheit 451’ Director Says Why Ray Bradbury Novel Is More Relevant Than Ever

TCA 2018: “I think it’s pretty obvious, right?” says director Ramin Bahrani

Michael B Jordan Fahrenheit 451 HBO
Michael Gibson/HBO

Ray Bradbury’s novel “Fahrenheit 451” is more relevant now than ever before, director of HBO’s adaptation Ramin Bahrani said Thursday.

I think it’s pretty obvious, right?” Bahrani said when asked why Bradbury’s dystopian story is especially relevant in Trump’s America. The director, co-writer and executive producer of HBO’s adaptation of the novel spoke to reporter at the network’s panel during the Television Critics Association winter tour.

We started working on this a year before the election,” Bahrani said. 

Politically things are going in a very strange direction in terms of what is real and what is not real,” he continued. “I think we’ve been going in that direction for a long time, it’s just now kind of being revealed to us more clearly. So I think from a high level, that’s a problem.”

But Bahrani wasn’t ready to lay all the blame on the current president, adding that we as a culture have become beholden to technology and having information at our fingertips.

I don’t want to focus so much on [Trump] because I don’t want to excuse the 30, 40 years prior to that. He’s just an exaggeration of it now,” Bahrani said.

“I don’t want us to forget what Bradbury said, that we asked for this,” he said, adding that we as a people elected Trump to office. Also, “we are electing again this thing in my pocket,” he said, pulling out his smartphone. “We are electing to give it all away to this.”

“Between the technological advancements in last 20 years and politics, I think Bradbury’s biggest concern about the erosion of culture is now… and the speed at which this is advancing is exponential.”

“Will we actually get ahead of the dam, or will it just be a flood and up to some other generation to bring back all of Bradbury’s heroes?”

HBO’s film “Fahrenheit 451” takes place in an “alternate tomorrow,” Bahrani said, because many of the technologies Bradbury imagined are “right here, right now.”

The film stars Michael Shannon, Michael B. Jordan and Sofia Boutella.