For a guy known for some pretty good book-to-movie adaptations (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, The Mist), director Frank Darabont seems oddly desperate to roast a crapload of them.
Well, to be fair, he only wants to burn them for his adaptation of Fahrenheit 451, the classic Ray Bradbury novel about a Fireman (a sanctioned book burner) who begins to question his purpose and the society he lives in. It seems that, similar to other cursed book adaptations like Don Quixote, the path to the screen has been a long and painful one. Originally intended as Mel Gibson’s follow-up to Braveheart, Darabont took over and never let go. Now after a decade of work, if you think he is giving up anytime soon, you got another think coming. Says Darabont:
“Fahrenheit is the thing I’m trying to get up next, which is casting-dependent, so it’s one of those. I’m out to somebody at the moment, fingers crossed, because, boy, do I want to make that movie. I’m not giving up. I’ll die in the traces before I don’t make that movie … It’s not one of those movies that are vastly expensive by any contemporary standard, but money is still money, and it’s of a price that requires somebody that will justify that investment. This is definitely going to be more than The Mist, so those other considerations do come into play.”
The last time the project was heard from, Tom Hanks was signed on to play protagonist Guy Montag, but he left some time ago. Nobody knows who the new pick is, though.
Darabont is especially desperate to complete the project while the 88-year-old Bradbury is still alive.
I promised myself that it would at least go into production while Ray Bradbury were still with us. It’s not like I think he’s going to leave tomorrow, but he’s not getting any younger. So I have an emotional commitment to wanting to get the wheels well and truly in motion while he’s still here to enjoy that.
Considering all the folks dropping like flies nowadays, his panic is well-founded. The director is also hard at work adapting another of Bradbury’s stories, The Illustrated Man, for the screen.