Shane Salerno, the screenwriter of Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and the upcoming remake of Fantastic Voyage, has already finished a two-hour documentary on the life of author JD Salinger. As you know, Salinger died yesterday at the age of 91. Salerno’s documentary, Salinger, was five years in the making and locked late last year. According to Deadline, “Salerno financed the film out of his pocket, interviewed 150 sources, and accumulated so much information that he collaborated on a 700-page companion book with bestselling author David Shields.” The subjects Salerno interviewed included those who had worked with him at The New Yorker, had contact with him otherwise, or were influenced by his work. That last category could include just about everyone and some names in the film include Philip Seymour Hoffman, Danny DeVito (I’m sure Salinger was a big fan of Throw Momma From the Train), John Guare, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, and Gore Vidal just to name a few.
Since he began this journey five years ago, you can’t call Salerno’s project “opportunistic,” and I’m excited to see the resulting documentary. Salinger’s life has been so overshadowed by Catcher in the Rye that his life has been mysterious not only because of his seclusion, but because Catcher latches on to an emotional experience rather and we forget the author entirely, which the mark of a legendary work of literature. I’m fine with a documentary about Salinger’s life, but let’s hope someone can keep Catcher away from Hollywood’s grubby mitts.