Los Angeles Ray Bradbury is demanding an apology from filmmaker Michael Moore for lifting the title from his classic science-fiction novel "Fahrenheit 451" without permission and wants the new documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" to be renamed.
"He didn't ask my permission," Bradbury, 83, told The Associated Press on Friday. "That's not his novel, that's not his title, so he shouldn't have done it."
The 1953 novel, widely considered Bradbury's masterpiece, portrays an ugly futuristic society in which firemen burn homes and libraries in order to destroy the books inside.
"Fahrenheit 451" takes its title from the temperature at which books burn. Moore has called "Fahrenheit 9/11" the "temperature at which freedom burns."
His film, which won top honors in May at the Cannes Film Festival, charges that the Bush administration acted ineptly before the 9-11 terrorist attacks, then played on the public's fear of future terrorism to gain support for the war against Iraq. It opens nationwide Friday.
Bradbury, who hadn't seen the movie, said he called Moore's company six months ago to protest and was told Moore would call back.
He finally got that call June 12, Bradbury said, adding Moore told him he was "embarrassed."
"He suddenly realized he's let too much time go by," the author said by phone from his home in Los Angeles' Cheviot Hills section.
Joanne Doroshow, a spokeswoman for "Fahrenheit 9/11," said the film's makers had "the utmost respect for Ray Bradbury."
"Mr. Bradbury's work has been an inspiration to all of us involved in this film, but when you watch this film you will see the fact that the title reflects the facts that the movie explores, the very real life events before, around and after 9-11," she said.
Bradbury, who is a registered political independent, said he would rather avoid litigation and was "hoping to settle this as two gentlemen, if he'll shake hands with me and give me back my book and title."
A Liberty Hall employee said the theater would show "Fahrenheit 9/11" after its nationwide release.