Two-time Oscar-winning screen giant Kevin Spacey has been tapped for Danny Strong’s upcoming literature drama Rebel in the Rye, where he will play a seasoned mentor to Nichloas Hoult’s J.D. Salinger.
Chronicling the formative years of the celebrated, yet reclusive author, the feature will be written and directed by Strong. Spacey, meanwhile, is on board to play Whit Burnett, professor and editor at Story Magazine who served as a mentor to Salinger during the early stages of his career. Indeed, as the title suggests, Rebel in the Rye will largely chart the scribe’s journey toward publishing The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, which is still held up to this day as Salinger’s defining work and one of the most important novels of the 20th Century.
Lifting inspiration from Kenneth Slawenski’s biography J.D. Salinger: A Life, it’s a meaty role for Hoult to take on. Hot on the heels of his turn in Mad Max: Fury Road and Bryan Singer’s imminent X-Men: Apocalypse, it’ll be a marked change of pace from the blockbuster fare, which ought to lend the British thesp ample room to flex his acting muscles as he looks to capture the secretive and press-shy nature of J.D. Salinger.
The official word from the studio trumpets Hoult’s appearance as the lead character:
“’The Catcher in the Rye’ is a classic coming of age story which continues to make a significant impression six generations later. The world has long been fascinated with JD Salinger, who the talented Nicholas Hoult will bring to life, in this enigmatic role.”
Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill are attached to produce Rebel in the Rye, while Spacey will reunite with his American Beauty producer Bruce Cohen on the project. Details are still thin on the ground when it comes to a production start date, though we imagine that with Spacey now on board the ball will get rolling very soon indeed.