Nicholas Hoult to play The Catcher in the Rye author JD Salinger in film about his life

Salinger's 1951 novel remains iconic for its portrayal of teenage angst

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The Independent Culture

He was known for avoiding the spotlight after the success of The Catcher in the Rye but at last, author JD Salinger's life will be the focus of a new biopic.

British actor Nicholas Hoult is taking the lead role in Rebel in the Rye, with Empire creator Danny Strong writing and directing a storyline based on Kenneth Slawenski's biography JD Salinger: A Life.

The drama will follow Salinger's journey from rebellious youth and World War II frontline service to literary fame and eventual reclusiveness.

Met with controversial upon its publication in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye is considered an iconic novel particularly popular with teenage readers for its themes of angst, alienation and lost innocence.



More than 65 million copies have been sold worldwide to date but there have been no film adaptations of the book. Salinger refused to sell studios the screen rights after his short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut was adapted into the poor My Foolish Heart in 1949.


A rare photograph of author JD Salinger with a friend


Salinger once wrote that he did not believe protagonist Holden Caulfield's first-person narration would translate well into cinema and therefore did not want to see a film in his lifetime. He died in 2010 aged 91.

Salinger's life, however, has been the subject of a documentary before. Shane Salerno released Salinger in 2013 and is currently working on a rival biopic with the Weinstein Co.

Further details on casting and release for Rebel in the Rye are yet to be confirmed.