Salinger (film)

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Salinger
The official movie poster for SALINGER documentary film.jpg
Directed by Shane Salerno
Produced by Shane Salerno
Buddy Squires
Deborah Randall
Craig Fanning
Written by Shane Salerno
Starring Martin Sheen
Edward Norton
John Cusack
Judd Apatow
Philip Seymour Hoffman
Cinematography Anthony Savini
Buddy Squires
Edited by Jeffrey Doe
Distributed by The Weinstein Company
Release dates
  • September 6, 2013 (2013-09-06)
Country United States
Language English
Box office $650,675[1]

Salinger is a 2013 documentary film about the writer J. D. Salinger, written and directed by Shane Salerno.

Production history[edit]

On January 29, 2010, the website Deadline.com broke an exclusive story and review of Salinger, a feature-length documentary about reclusive author J. D. Salinger that Salerno directed, produced and financed himself. The documentary was kept secret for five years. The film features interviews with 150 subjects including Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito (whose interviews were cut from the film's official release), John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E. L. Doctorow, and Pulitzer Prize winners A. Scott Berg, Elizabeth Frank and the late Gore Vidal. Michael Fleming, the first journalist in the world to view the film, said Salerno's picture was "arrestingly powerful and exhaustively researched". Additionally, Fleming announced that Salerno had co-written a 700-page biography on Salinger with New York Times bestselling author David Shields.[2]

On February 4, 2010, Entertainment Weekly released an article about the Salinger documentary that detailed the elaborate security protocol that was put into place to keep the film secret for five years.[3]

On January 26, 2011, Salerno spoke with the Associated Press about his Salinger documentary and its expected late 2012 release. "In the final analysis, what distinguishes our film and book project is access—access to Salinger's friends, colleagues and members of his inner circle that have never spoken on the record before as well as film footage, photographs and other material that has never been seen," Salerno said. "We take the viewer and reader inside J. D. Salinger's private world and shine light on a man named Jerry who lived in the shadow of the myth of J. D. Salinger".

On February 27, 2013, it was announced that Harvey Weinstein had acquired the documentary for theatrical distribution by his studio, The Weinstein Company, after being the only studio head to see the finished film after the 85th Academy Awards. The purchase price was $2 million. It does not include the television rights, which were sold to PBS' American Masters. The release date of September 6, 2013 was chosen for the film to be a candidate for the 86th Academy Awards.[4]

On June 13, 2013, The Weinstein Company released the first trailer for the film.[5]

The film premiered on American Masters as the program's 200th episode on January 21, 2014.[6] This version contains fifteen extra minutes of footage, including the interviews which were cut from the theatrical release, as is considered by Salerno to be "my definitive version" of the film.[7]

On September 4, 2013, in an interview on Charlie Rose, Salerno revealed that the project initially started as a feature film, with Daniel Day-Lewis as his choice to play Salinger.[8]

Reception[edit]

Salinger received largely negative reviews. It currently holds a 35% approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 84 reviews, with an average score of 5.4/10.[9]

The film was one of the top-ten highest-grossing documentaries of 2013.[10]

American Masters Director's Cut[edit]

The director's cut of Salinger aired on the Emmy-winning PBS series American Masters on January 21, 2014. It was their special 200th Episode. The reviews were nearly universally positive.

David Zurawik in the Baltimore Sun wrote "This is really an impressive documentary. The profile [Salerno] comes up with is worthy and then some of the American Masters. Salerno respects the greatness of The Catcher in the Rye and you will hear people, literary scholars...talking about what this book means and it’s really great literary criticism. I think this is one of the best American Masters they have had in years."[11]

Nathan Southern in TV Guide gave Salinger "3 out of 4 stars. Shane Salerno's documentary Salinger—a biographical profile of reclusive [The] Catcher in the Rye author J. D. Salinger—is an emotionally stirring and affecting work..." [12]

On January 22, 2014, AP reported that “within hours” of Salinger appearing on American Masters/PBS J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye “soared” to number 1 on Amazon for the first time in its publishing history.[13]

References[edit]

External links[edit]