Secret J.D. Salinger Documentary to be Released This Spring

Posted on January 29, 2010

Deadline Hollywood Daily reports that this spring -- probably at the Cannes film festival -- a new documentary about J.D. Salinger will be released. The project has been kept under wraps -- it took five years to make and has extensive new information about the recently deceased author of The Catcher in the Rye. Mike Fleming, who has actually seen the film, had this to say about some of the film's revelations:

There also are details of: his WWII soldiering in Normandy and interrogation of Nazi prisoners; his love affair with Eugene O'Neill's daughter Oona, and the crushing disappointment of losing her to Charlie Chaplin while Salinger fought in Europe; Salinger's habit of locking himself away in his New Hampshire cinderblock bunker for weeks at a time to write; his penchant for taking a week to craft a single sentence; the damage his silences caused his family; the futile efforts of friends to re-introduce him to the world; Salinger's protectiveness towards his work; his refusal to sell anything to Hollywood, turning down 8-figure offers and first-class filmmakers like Billy Wilder and Steven Spielberg; his determination to maintain total control over his prose (so that when a New Yorker editor once added a comma, Salinger never spoke to him again).

Even more intriguing, Salerno's documentary also reports on what J.D. Salinger literary works might be in the famed secret vault, where 45 years of unpublished writings are rumored to be kept.

Of course, those rumored unpublished works are what make academics' hearts beat faster. The film was financed by, directed and produced by Shane Salerno, a 37-year-old screenwriter whose day job is writing the screenplay for James Cameron's Fantastic Voyage. Salerno's research is said to be intense: he interviewed 150 people and co-wrote (with David Shields) a 700 page companion book to be released at the same time as the film.