Read: J.D. Salinger Argues Against a 'Catcher in the Rye' Movie in This Rare Letter from 1957

Read: J.D. Salinger Argues Against a 'Catcher in the Rye' Movie in This Rare Letter from 1957

Feb 27, 2012

As filmmakers rake the goldmines of literature for their newest adaptations, it's rare that we get a chance to hear from the authors of classic novels what they'd think about their works being translated for the big screen. J.D. Salinger, however, was more than happy to share his opinion about making a movie out of his 1951 tale, The Catcher in the Rye.

The author wrote a letter in 1957 arguing against a film version, describing the book as "a very novelistic novel." Despite many filmmakers approaching Salinger about bringing the story of an angst-ridden Holden Caulfield to life, the reclusive writer felt strongly that the weight of novel is in the narrator's voice — making all of Caulfield's asides, thoughts, and philosophies impossible to imitate. Salinger also quipped that the use of actors would be "immeasurably risky business" and had no faith in child stars to pull off the parts of Holden and Phoebe. Basically, he doesn't want anyone to go near it. Ever.
The author passed away in 2010, which leaves many wondering if his estate will ever release the necessary licensing to see the canonical work in theaters. Would fans even want that knowing how much Salinger would have despised it? Is the work too monumental to tackle? Catcher's themes of identity and alienation are timeless, but it certainly runs the risk of becoming a bizarrely devout memorial to one of literature's greatest with the wrong talent behind it. Share your thoughts below — let us know if Hollywood should just leave this one alone. See the full letter below, via Collider.
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