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The Cather in the Rye Headed to the Big Screen?

Photo: Getty Images

It's a sad fact that our long-held hopes of a movie adaptation of JD Salinger's cult depiction of teen rebellion and angst, The Catcher in the Rye, might be realized now that -- and because -- the author died.

Salinger's lifelong and passionate objection to the most sought-after script in the world ever being written and filmed meant some of the hottest stars of the last few decades had their ambitions thwarted: Brando, Nicholson, DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire were all keen to be Holden Caulfield. The increasingly reclusive writer rebuffed major studios and even big name directors like Steven Spielberg.

But now, six months after his death at the age of 91, the threat of death tax on his estate opens the door to the possibility that his family will relent, if his will allows them the option, and sell the rights. Salinger himself did mention, late in life, that if he were to die poor, and wanted to look after his wife and daughter, he might leave the unsold rights to them.

Of course, right now it's a waiting game, and if his will specified non-publication, it'll be close to 100 years before they come up for sale -- by which time many more generations of disaffected youth will have fallen under the spell of Holden Caulfield.

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Noah Michelson