It’s less than likely that J.D. Salinger would have approved of Ryan Gosling playing him in a movie, but according to reports, the Canadian heartthrob is a contender for the lead role in a feature film about Salinger just announced by the Weinstein Company. The film will be a follow up to the television documentary “Salinger,” also produced by Weinstein, which will air on PBS in January as part of the “American Masters” series.
According to Entertainment Weekly, the narrative feature film will follow Salinger’s life from World War II to the publication of “The Catcher in the Rye” in 1951, a time considered one of the most formative chapters in his life. The film company has yet to announce many details about the project other than its writer and subject matter, but Gosling is reportedly among a slew of actors who have been suggested for the part, the Telegraph reported. The Press Association also named James Franco and Jake Gyllenhaal as possible leads.
Shane Salerno, a screenwriter behind films like “Armageddon” and “Savages” who penned the “Salinger” documentary, will also take over writing duties for the feature film. Speaking to the Associated Press two weeks ago, Salerno said, “This documentary has been an incredible journey and truly epitomizes what it means to be a passion project.”
“I’m beyond excited to share more of the fascinating material we discovered in its new special edition, and look forward to continuing my relationship with Harvey [Weinstein] and TWC in developing a narrative film about this brilliant, intriguing man,” he said.
Although Salerno didn’t comment on any of the rumored candidates, he did reveal that when he optioned the rights to the Paul Alexander biography “Salinger” he desperately wanted Daniel Day-Lewis for the role. “I thought Daniel Day-Lewis not only perfectly encapsulated Salinger, but when Daniel Day-Lewis is made up for events he can look strikingly like Salinger at certain angles,” he said. ““But I knew that … [Day-Lewis] would want to know so much, there was so much research and diligence. So I really began preparing the research in order to prepare for a meeting that I hoped would happen with Daniel Day-Lewis. Then I did a couple of interviews [about Salinger] over the phone and interviews in person, and it became clear to me that this was a documentary.”
But not everyone seems to be on board with the idea of Gosling as a stand in for Salinger. A Reddit thread dedicated to the topic turned up mixed reviews.
“Why is it anytime Hollywood goes for a biopic of an intellectual, they pick one of the ‘Vanity Fair’ sort of actors,” one Reddit user wrote. “Because if they were put Ryan Gosling in this movie, I'm not gonna see Salinger, I'm gonna see a f---ing teenage heart throb.”
“Seems like the kind of thing Salinger would roll in his grave about,” another user wrote.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NOT Ryan Gosling!” wrote another Redditor, followed shortly by, “No no no no no no no no no no no and no.”