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The Weinstein Company Bolster This Year's Oscar Slate With Star-Studded Doc 'Salinger'

The Playlist By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist February 28, 2013 at 9:39AM

It can safely be said that Harvey Weinstein no longer needs to try too hard. After nudging “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained” toward their Oscar wins Sunday night, and even snagging FLOTUS to deliver the Best Picture award? No need. But the famed producer's key to success is persistence, and he's now moved to award another filmmaker's for his.
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J.D. Salinger

It can safely be said that Harvey Weinstein no longer needs to try too hard. After nudging “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Django Unchained” toward their Oscar wins Sunday night, and even snagging FLOTUS to deliver the Best Picture award? No need. But the famed producer's key to success is persistence, and he's now moved to award another filmmaker's for his.

Since early 2010, writer/director Shane Salerno has been shopping around his documentary on "Catcher In The Rye" author/recluse J.D. Salinger, entitled “Salinger,” which itself was five years and $2 million dollars of his personal cash in the making. Featuring “150 sources” interviewed who “either worked with the writer at The New Yorker or had contact with him otherwise,” the film kept a low profile afterwards, only releasing a never-before-seen photo later that year (see above).

But ever the saving grace, Weinstein has acquired the theatrical rights to the film for right around $2 million as well, joining previous deals with PBS' “American Masters” and Simon and Schuster for television and publishing rights to the tie-in book based on research for the movie, respectively. All told, the deal will equal upwards of $5 million - one of the most lucrative ever for a documentary.

We can't say the material isn't worthy enough, either, with a absolute laundry list of interview subjects, including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, A. Scott Berg, Elizabeth Frank and Gore Vidal.

It seems Salerno's incredibly hard work has found its rightful end, with the theatrical release slated for Oscar season later this year, followed by a bow on PBS' “American Masters” in 2014. It looks like Salinger, who passed away in 2010, will be back in the spotlight whether he would have wanted it or not. [Deadline]

This article is related to: Salinger, The Weinstein Company