J.D. Salinger tells Hollywood to 'Suck It' From Beyond the Grave
In a 1957 letter, the notoriously reclusive J.D. Salinger listed a number of reasons why his classic novel, The Catcher in the Rye, should never be adapted for the stage or screen. The author, whose comments on such a project were limited to the single letter, never sold the rights to his novel, and while an argument could be made that Salinger was just being his usual, ornery self, the letter in question actually raises a very reasoned argument as to why The Catcher in the Rye (and other novels, really), should remain in their original medium.
First, Salinger says that the nature of Caufield’s inner monologue poses problems for any visual medium, describing:
…gasolilne rainbows in street puddles, his philosophy or way of looking at cowhide suitcases and empty toothpaste cartons—in a way, his thoughts.
The author also argues that the roles of Phoebe and Holden are much too nuanced for any child actor to pull off effectively, or for any director to generate an adequate performance from said actors. He’s also understandably skittish about the technical limitations of a stage play.
Surely, if Salinger had lived to see the leaps and bounds that we’ve made with 3-D and smell-o-vision, this project would be in the works already. Michael Bay is still hunting that first Oscar. Lights, camera, ACTION!!!
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