Casting Call: Rebel in the Rye

Published September 10, 2015

In which we suggest who should star in the next big adaptation, remake, or historical film.

Notoriously reclusive writer J.D. Salinger probably would have resented the attention thrust on him by the 2013 documentary Salinger. Following the success of The Catcher in the Rye and his Glass family saga, Salinger retreated to a cabin in New Hampshire, where he died in 2010. He batted away all attempts at press coverage and adaptations of his material, though he acknowledged in a letter that Catcher might one day be adapted into a film.

But another film focused on Salinger’s life has entered the fray, before an adaptation of his work could be considered. The upcoming Rebel in the Rye, based on a 2011 biography of the writer by Kenneth Slawenski, will star Nicholas Hoult as the writer and will be scripted and directed by Danny Strong (of Empire, The Butler, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, as well as the writer behind both parts of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay). The biopic will focus on Salinger’s early life and service in World War II, angled towards the release of The Catcher in the Rye in 1951.

Slawenski’s biography concentrates on adding dimension to the existing narrative of Salinger’s life until1965. He suffered many professional rejections (notably from the New Yorker, where he would eventually publish most of his stories) and personal troubles (a bout of PTSD, crippling writer’s block). The film promises to be something of a conquering-your-demons drama as well as a biography of mysterious figure.

Hoult was announced in the title role just last week, though the rest of the cast still remains to be selected. It should happen soon, with rights to the screenplay up for auction at the Toronto International Film Festival this week. Until then, we have a few suggestions.

Casting Call runs every Friday. For more, click here