The Catcher in the Rye is one of the most famous pieces of 20th century literature, as well as a staple of the high school reading curriculum. It’s a coming of age story like no other, dealing with themes of isolation and a reluctance to grow up through the eyes of its endearing, but ultimately hypocritical, protagonist Holden Caulfield. However, the story of its author, legendary writer J.D. Salinger, has always been rather subdued, given Salinger’s secretiveness about his personal life. Now an attempt has been made to bring the author’s story to life while celebrating his genius in the world of literature.
IFC films have released the first trailer for their biopic film Rebel in the Rye, based on the book J.D. Salinger: A Life by Kenneth Slawenski. The film stars Nicolas Hoult as a young Salinger and explores the events that shaped his personal life prior to Catcher in the Rye’s publication. Among these events include his rebellious youth phase, his time fighting in WWII, returning home and suffering with PTSD up until writing his masterpiece novel. Other moments that come to define Salinger’s character include gaining the support of his teacher Whit Burnett (Kevin Spacey), dealing with the expectations of his father, heartbreak after the war, and a struggle to find work as a writer.
Rebel in the Rye is directed by first time director Danny Strong (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and boasts an amazing cast, starring Hoult and Spacey alongside Victor Garber (Sicario), Sarah Paulson (Carol), Brian D’Arcy James (Spotlight), and Zoey Deutch (Everybody Wants Some!!) The trailer clearly establishes how Salinger’s experiences not only found their way into Catcher’s writing process, but made Holden’s character an extension of the author himself. As Salinger himself puts it: “Pages of this book were with me when I stormed the beaches at Normandy. I don’t think I’d be alive if it wasn’t for this book.”
Rebel in the Rye will be released in theaters on September 15. You can watch the trailer below.