NEW YORK (AP) — A new J.D. Salinger film and biography are being billed as an unprecedented look into the mysterious life of the author of “The Catcher In the Rye.”
Simon & Schuster announced yesterday that it had acquired “The Private War of J.D. Salinger,” an oral biography compiled by author David Shields and filmmaker-screenwriter Shane Salerno, whose screenplay credits include the Oliver Stone film “Savages.” Salinger’s own books have been published by Little, Brown and Co.
Salerno has been working for several years on his documentary, which PBS will air next January for the 200th of its “American Masters” series. According to Simon & Schuster, the book and film draw upon interviews “with over 150 sources who either worked directly with author J.D. Salinger, had a personal relationship with him, or were influenced by his work.”
Simon & Schuster’s announcement does not say whether the ultimate Salinger question is answered: Did he leave behind any unpublished manuscripts? Simon & Schuster publisher Jonathan Karp said he could not provide detail beyond what is in the news release.
Virtually nothing new has been learned about the author since he died in New Hampshire in 2010 at age 91. No authorized biography has appeared.
“The myth that people have read about and believed for 60 years about J.D. Salinger is one of someone too pure to publish, too sensitive to be touched. We replace the myth of Salinger with an extraordinarily complex, deeply contradictory human being,” Salerno said in a statement. “Our book offers a complete revaluation and reinterpretation of the work and the life.”
Salinger was reportedly deeply scarred by his service during World War II, when he interrogated prisoners of war.