Kevin Spacey joins J.D. Salinger Biopic

Nicholas Hoult will play JD Salinger in Rebel in the Rye.

Deadline is reporting that two-time Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey (The Usual Suspects, American Beauty) has joined Danny Strong’s drama Rebel in the Rye, which will star Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Apocalypse) as legendary author J.D. Salinger. Written and directed by Strong, the screenplay was adapted from the Kenneth Slawenski biography, JD Salinger: A Life. Spacey will portray Whit Burnett, a professor, editor at Story Magazine and mentor to the young Salinger.

Rebel in the Rye takes us on a journey into the life and mind of the legendary and secretive author and tells the story of the birth of “The Catcher in the Rye.” As the author who captivated a generation, JD Salinger soared to the heights of the literary world but left it all behind for a life of seclusion. Through his rebellious youth, the bloody front lines of World War II, enduring great love and terrible loss, a life of rejection to the pages of The New Yorker, and the PTSD-fueled writer’s block which led to a spiritual awakening.

Bloom’s Alex Walton said, “’The Catcher in the Rye’ is a classic coming of age story which continues to make a significant impression six generations later. The world has long been fascinated with JD Salinger, who the talented Nicholas Hoult will bring to life, in this enigmatic role.”

Strong is known best for creating the hit FOX show “Empire,” in which he has written and directed multiple episodes of the ratings and pop culture phenomenon. In addition he has written the

screenplays for The Butler, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 and Part 2 as well as the HBO Films Recount and Game Change. He has won a Golden Globe, two Emmys, two Writer’s Guild Awards and a Peabody.

Black Label Media is financing Rebel in the Rye with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill producing alongside Academy Award winner Bruce Cohen (American Beauty, Silver Linings Playbook, Milk), Jason Shuman, and Danny Strong.

The famously press-shy author was previously the subject of the poorly-received posthumous documentary Salinger, directed by Shane Salerno in 2013.

Spacey, who was recently named studio head at the embattled Relativity Media, will next be seen in the biopic Elvis and Nixon opposite Michael Shannon, as well as headlining Barry Sonnenfeld’s comedy Nine Lives. He will begin shooting Edgar Wright’s musical heist film Baby Driver shortly.

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