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As it prepares to bow The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, HBO has set its next high-profile TV movie.
The cabler is developing an adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic Fahrenheit 451, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, with Michael B. Jordan and Michael Shannon attached to star. The project is inching toward a formal production commitment.
The drama is based on Bradbury’s 1953 dystopian novel, which depicts a future where media is an opiate, history is outlawed and “firemen” burn books and revolves around Montag, a young fireman who forsakes his world, battles his mentor and struggles to regain his humanity.
Jordan (Creed, Friday Night Lights) is set to star as Montag, while Shannon will return to HBO following Boardwalk Empire to play Beatty, Montag’s fireman captain and mentor. The casting reunites Shannon with Fahrenheit co-writers Ramin Bahrani and Amir Naderi after he starred in their feature 99 Homes. Bahrani is also set to direct the telepic via his Noruz Films banner.
Jordan will executive produce via his Outlier Productions. Sarah Green will serve in the same capacity via her Brace Cove Productions. Alan Gasmer and Peter Jaysen will also exec produce, with David Coatsworth set to produce.
For Jordan, Fahrenheit 451 falls outside of his overall film and TV deal with Skydance Media and comes as he continues to make a push on the producing side. He already has a TV project in development at Skydance.
The casting comes more than a year after the film was first put in development at the premium cable network. Fahrenheit 451 is considered one of Bradbury’s best and most acclaimed books. It has been adapted multiple times, including Francois Truffaut’s 1966 feature film and a stage version in 1979 that also was written by Bradbury. He was nominated for a spoken word Grammy in 1976 for his audio book of the beloved property that takes its name from the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns. Bradbury, who passed away in 2012, previously had a deal to bring six of his properties to TV for a miniseries as part of a pact signed in 2009.
Fahrenheit 451 arrives as HBO Films has found critical, ratings and awards-season success with its projects including Confirmation and All the Way. Next up is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, starring Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne, which premieres Saturday.
Jordan and Outlier are repped by WME, MGMT Entertainment and Bloom Hergott; Shannon, who next stars in Paramount Network’s Waco mini, is with CAA, Wetzel Entertainment and Morris Yorn.
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