Shane Salerno, director of popular Weinstein doc “Salinger,” has provided a never-before-seen letter to Variety, penned by none other than reclusive author J.D. Salinger himself. In the letter, Salinger refutes the rumor that he hated film and Hollywood. According to Salerno, Salinger has admitted he was in correspondence with a number of producers during the high point of his career. He also claims he had interest in adapting a few of his short stories for the screen.
This isn’t to say that Salinger had a smooth relationship with Tinsel Town. In 1949, Samuel Goldwyn adapted Salinger’s New Yorker story “Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut.” Most of Salinger’s input was cut from the final film, which received disastrous reviews. So when he published “Catcher in the Rye” two years later in 1951, the legend goes, Salinger was so scarred by his initial bad experience that he wouldn’t even pick up the phone, not even for the likes of Billy Wilder. (Jerry Lewis, Steven Spielberg and Harvey Weinstein have also been frustrated by the rights no-go on the classic novel.)
Salerno posits that Salinger’s animosity toward film and the business wasn’t as intense as previously believed. Check out the letter for yourself, below. (A larger, more readable size can be viewed here.) Salinger writes that he likes certain films “inordinately,” but that it’s “perfectly accurate to say I have no professional interest whatever in films or stage plays.”
In classic Weinstein fashion, the doc “Salinger” (review here) is being adapted into a biopic. Our TOH! poll on who would be best to play the young author is here. (Tom Hiddleston and Joseph Gordon-Levitt are currently reader faves.)