Its no secret that J D Salinger - the writer of one of the most influential books of the 20th Century, the Catcher in Rye - was a notorious recluse who hated Hollywood and everything it stands for. Consequently, good old JD rejected all of Hollywood's advances of the past sixty years.
Mr Salinger's distrust had as much to do with the 'phoniness' of the movie business as it did with the hatchet job that Hollywood did on one of his celebrated short stories, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut in 1948 - before he had even written Catcher in the Rye and inspiring perhaps the now famous line in Catcher - "If there's one thing I hate, its the movies."
It is ironic therefore that Hollywood has long been hot on the trail of bringing the fictional lips that spoke these words, to 'life'. Now that JD is gone, the sharks have once again begun to circle, and there is every reason to believe that before long, the sharks will be fed.
Truth be told, there have been many versions / facsimilies of the Holden Caufield character since Catcher in the Rye made its debut in 1951. Just about every rebel that has ever portrayed, every outsider, has embodied some little bit of Holden Caufield. James Dean channeled bits of HC in Rebel without a cause. Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything), Max Fischer (Rushmore), Igby (Igby goes down), and even Graham Dalton (Sex, Lies and Videotape) all owe a debt of gratitude to the legacy of rebellion and individuality first initiated by Catcher in the Rye.
But now, the real prize is within reach. And the hundreds, nay thousands of Hollywood execs, who can count Catcher as one of the few books that they actually have read, are sure to start the process of stalking the heirs of the Salinger estate to become the first to officially sodomize his greatest work. The speculation has already begun on the internet. And no doubt, Catcher in the Rye will be the subject of many of the Studio Production Meetings this Monday morning.
I can just imagine the discussion now:
First Exec: 'Ok, guys. That Salinger dude is dead now and there is nothing to stop my lifelong ambition of bring the character of Holden Caufield to life.'
Second Exec: 'Its been some time since we did a baseball movie so.....'
Third Exec: 'Dude, did you grow up in Utah? Catcher in the Rye is the story of a rebellious young prep school student who gets expelled and journeys to New York for the weekend. Its a 'rite du passage' type story. I know, cause I wikipedia'd it myself last night.'
SE: 'Oh sure. I think I remember that. Great story. Wrote an essay from the Cliff Notes and scored a B+ in my modern american lit course. Haven't they made that into a movie before?'
FE: 'Nope! And thats why we gotta move quick.'
TE: 'Seems that the author had a problem with Hollywood. Didn't think that anyone could do the story justice.'
FE: '........Until now. I think I got the perfect formula for this one.'
SE: 'Well lets hear it!'
FE: 'I'm thinking that maybe we can get Robert Pattinson to play the lead: Holden Caufield..... And maybe get Chris Columbus or Catherine Hardwicke to direct.'
SE: 'R-Pattz has worked with Harwicke before and I think there's a rapport there. What about a love interest?'
FE: 'What do you mean? There is no love interest in the book.'
TE: 'Dude. This is Hollywood. We gotta sex it up for the teens. Teenage girls buy more tickets and t-shirts than anyone else.'
FE: 'Well I suppose that we can re-write the part of the prostitute. Maybe get them to fall in love. And have someone young and hot to play the part like Leighton Meister or Emma Watson.'
SE: 'Sounds much better. But make her a girl with a troubled past rather than a hooker. And maybe we can make it that he's been expelled for being a vampire.......'
FE: (Disturbed) 'What! Where did that come from?'
SE: 'The girls love the whole vampire bit (excuse the pun). It would all be part of updating the whole story. Its poetic license. And we'll be sure to treat with the whole thing tastefully.'
FE: (Cautiously) 'Oooookayyyy. (Turning sarcastic now) Why not make it a musical while we're at it....'
SE: (Excited) 'Now that what I'm looking for! A spark of originality to start off the week. Why not a musical? Maybe get those Mama Mia guys to write original music for it. Perhaps put some dancing as well. The kids responded well to that song and dance sequence in (500) days of Summer last year.'
FE: 'So, you're saying that we re-imagine Catcher in the Rye as a vampire romance musical starring Robert Pattinson and Leighton Meister????!!!'
SE: 'And I'm thinking that we can cast Johnny Depp as the pervish teacher. And Justin Timberlake and one of the Jonas brothers as Stradlater and Ackley....."
Harvey Weinstein: (From a dark corner of the room) 'Sold! We start production in two weeks.'