By Beth Hanna and Ryan Lattanzio | Thompson on Hollywood March 21, 2013 at 7:30PM
The notoriously reclusive “Catcher in the Rye” author J.D. Salinger will finally get his cinematic dues, posthumously, in writer/director Shane Solerno’s upcoming documentary “Salinger.”
UPDATE: The Weinstein Company officially announced today their acquisition of the eagerly awaited film’s worldwide distribution rights. TWC, who closed the deal on the film after screening it the morning of the Oscars, anticipates a September 6 release date following a festival run.
Salerno, who co-wrote Oliver Stone’s 2012 “Savages” and produced “Salinger” alongside Buddy Squires and Deborah Randall, said in regards to the acquisition, "I have the greatest respect for The Weinstein Company and the remarkable quality and consistency of the films they produce. I am honored to be working with them on what is for me an eight year labor of love."
“Salinger” features interviews with 150 subjects, including his closest friends and colleagues who have never spoken about him before, and archival footage of the writer. Salinger died in January 2010, and he hadn’t published a work since 1965. Other notable personalities seen in the film include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, Tom Wolfe and Gore Vidal, among others, who discuss the cultural impact of this endlessly enigmatic figure.
Shane Salerno co-authored an oral biography on Salinger with author David Shields (“Reality Hunger”), entitled The Private War of J.D. Salinger, slated for publication this year.
The deal was reportedly in the $2 million range. Meanwhile, on January 28 PBS took the US television rights to Salerno's documentary.
The acquisition is an unusual selection for the PBS Emmy award-winning
show; most "American Masters" episodes are produced in-house. The doc will screen in early 2014 as the 200th episode.
Reportedly the entire deal for the film and Salerno's biography of the reclusive "Catcher in the Rye" author, including theatrical, US TV and publishing, was north of $5 million, marking one of the biggest acquisitions ever for a documentary.
EARLIER: Simon & Schuster has acquired the rights to the upcoming controversial biography "The Private War of J.D. Salinger," by David Shields and Shane Salerno. The biography of the author, set to be published in September, has been in the works for the past eight years. It includes more than 150 interviews with subjects who either worked directly with the "Catcher in the Rye" writer, had personal relationships with him, or were influenced by his work. Those 150 accounts can be considered quite a feat, given Salinger's reputation as a recluse.
Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan Karp and senior editor Jofie Ferrari-Adler have been chasing the project for years. They acquired rights before any other publisher got a chance to see the manuscript.