J.D. Salinger’s 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye is arguably the most important piece of American literature ever produced. With over 65million worldwide sales, this story of teenage rebellion, alienation, belonging and identity, is a masterpiece. Mark David Chapman, the assassin of John Lennon, and John Hinkley, attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan, both claim the book inspired them to kill these public figures. But what is surprising about this cultural cornerstone is that there has never been a movie made about it.
The fact that there has been no film is mainly due to Salinger; he was open to a film adaptation of his novel but only after his death. In 2010 the literary great died.
So, are we close to finally seeing The Catcher in the Rye on the big screen?
Bookmakers Paddy Power have a market on who will play Holden Caulfield, the main character, in which Moises Aries, of Hannah Montana fame, is the favourite. However, despite there being a market, it seems that we are no closer to seeing the epic.
The holy grail of movie scripts seems to be destined to stay only in paper form. Salinger was actually a fan of Hollywood but after seeing his short story Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut made into My Foolish Heart in 1949, he became disenchanted with Hollywood.
Although the author is now sadly deceased it seems that we are destined never to see The Catcher in the Rye. It’s unlikely that his family would want to dishonour their father’s wishes. He felt the book was unfilmable and his representatives have refused to announce who the trustee of his estate is.
It seems that the film will not be witnessed in our lifetime. The publishers recently stated: “There are no plans to sell the film rights.” So, if Hollywood wants to get their hands on the book their best bet is to wait the best part of a century until the book is out of copyright!
The closest we will get to seeing it is the Weinstein Company production about J.D. Salinger, not the book itself. The Catcher in the Rye therefore is destined to spend its days on the library shelf and not Netflix.