Despite being one of the most iconic writers in American history, J.D. Salinger was an extremely mysterious figure. He shot to stardom after the breakthrough success of The Catcher in the Rye, but quickly shied away from not only public life, but his family as well. The author became a recluse, publishing less and less of his writing while only appearing publicly a handful of times before his death in 2010.
Of course, the more Salinger withdrew, the more people became fascinated by him. That hasn’t changed since his death, either, as seen by last year’s documentary and tie-in biography Salinger. Now, we have a new biopic in the works that is coming to us from Lee Daniels’ The Butler scribe Danny Strong.
According to THR, Strong has announced plans to make a dramatized biopic called Salinger’s War, which itself is based on Kenneth Slawensk’s biography, J.D. Salinger: A Life. Strong must feel passionate about the project, as not only will he direct, but he also optioned the rights to the biography with his own money and wrote the script on spec.
Salinger’s War will mark Strong’s directorial debut, and chronicles the writer’s early days, as he tries to establish a career in New York’s literary circle in the early 1940’s. After numerous rejections, he finally finds inspiration in a character named Holden Caulfield. Just as his career is about to begin though, World War II breaks out and Salinger is shipped off to fight. There, his experience changes him forever and helps him find his voice as a writer.
As an enormous fan of Salinger’s work, I’m excited to see what Strong does with this story. However, I am a bit torn about any film that revolves around the literary icon, since the man himself would have absolutely hated the idea. While this may be a great way to celebrate the life and work of a beloved and treasured author, it’s also a huge invasion into the privacy of someone who just wanted to be left alone.
Tell us, what are your thoughts on the prospect of a J.D. Salinger biopic? Let us know in the comments below.