What happens when one of history's most famous authors suddenly disappears from the limelight at the height of his fame? You get a legend, of course, and there might not be a bigger one than that of J.D. Salinger, the author of Catcher in the Rye and Franny and Zooey, who published his final work in 1965 and spent nearly half a century in isolation until his death in 2010. Shane Salerno's new documentary Salinger digs into the mystery of Salinger's secretive life and retirement, and-- as revealed in the documentary and by the New York Times-- discovers five new books that Salinger instructed to be published after his death.
Regardless of how great the new manuscripts may be, none of them are likely to become the landmark that Catcher in the Rye has, and in this exclusive clip from the documentary that we're premiering above, you can glimpse just how huge a global impact the book has had. With interviews from the likes of Ed Norton and Martin Sheen, as well as students from all over the globe, Salerno reveals in this quick montage how much of an impact Salinger has had on his readers-- and sets up the question that the film aims to answer about what would make a man like that suddenly disappear from public life.
For more on Salinger, here's the film's official synopsis:
SALINGER features interviews with 150 subjects including Salinger's friends and colleagues who have never spoken on the record before as well as film footage, photographs and other material that has never been seen. Additionally, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Edward Norton, John Cusack, Danny DeVito, John Guare, Martin Sheen, David Milch, Robert Towne, Tom Wolfe, E.L. Doctorow, Gore Vidal and Pulitzer Prize winners A. Scott Berg and Elizabeth Frank talk about Salinger's influence on their lives, their work and the broader culture. The film is the first work to get beyond the Catcher in the Rye author’s meticulously built up wall: his childhood, painstaking work methods, marriages, private world and the secrets he left behind after his death in 2010.
You can also check out the trailer below. Salinger, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival last weekend and will be part of this week's Toronto International Film Festival, opens in theaters this weekend.