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Does a new J.D. Salinger documentary contain 'revelations' about the author?

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Edmund Fountain/Valley News/AP

(Read caption) A sign warns visitors not to enter the New Hampshire property of author J.D. Salinger.

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This year’s Cannes Film Festival saw the screening of a preview of the buzzed-about documentary “Salinger,” which centers on the reclusive “Catcher in the Rye” author.

The movie is directed by Shane Salerno, who has served as the screenwriter for films such as the 2012 film “Savages” and the 1998 movie “Armageddon.” The footage screened during the festival showed interviews with other authors such as E.L. Doctorow and Gore Vidal as well as a reference to “the biggest secret of [Salinger’s] lifetime.”

Salerno is also serving as a producer and writer on the film.

The Weinstein Company is distributing the film and Harvey Weinstein told the Guardian that the movie contains some surprises.

“It depends how you define a great revelation,” Weinstein said when asked specifically whether the movie offered new information about the author, who died in 2010. “I hope the audience will keep the secret of the film, and won't tell their neighbors, just like they did for The Crying Game. If I told you what it was they'd kill me. Shane Salerno directed Savages, so I am definitely not going to tell you.”

However, Salinger’s son Matthew told the New York Times that neither he nor his father cooperated with Salerno and that he doesn’t believe anyone who was close to Salinger worked with the documentary filmmaker, either.

“There were barely enough people to form a circle in the last 30 or 40 years,” Matthew Salinger said of his father’s acquaintances.

He said he doesn’t think the finished product will measure up to all the hype. 

“I would only wish this were as serious-minded a piece of work as he would have us believe,” he said of Salerno.

The movie is scheduled to be released Sept. 6.


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