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Nicholas Hoult to Play Author J.D. Salinger in ‘Rebel in the Rye’

Nicholas Hoult will star as J.D. Salinger in the biopic “Rebel in the Rye,” with Danny Strong directing from his own screenplay.

The script was adapted from the Kenneth Slawenski biography “J.D. Salinger: A Life.” Black Label Media is financing, with Molly Smith, Trent Luckinbill and Thad Luckinbill producing alongside Bruce Cohen, Jason Shuman and Danny Strong.

Bloom will introduce “Rebel in the Rye” to foreign buyers at the upcoming Toronto Film Festival, while CAA is representing the North American rights.

The movie will explore the life and mind of the secretive author and tell the story of the birth of “The Catcher in the Rye.” The story will explore his rebellious youth, his experiences on 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 his writer’s block — which led to a spiritual awakening.

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

Strong is known best for creating the series “Empire.” His screenplay credits include “The Butler,” the two “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay” films and the HBO films “Recount” and “Game Change.”

Hoult’s credits include “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “X-Men: Days of Future Passed.”

He also stars in the upcoming sci-fi romance “Equals” alongside Kristen Stewart, Guy Pearce and Jacki Weaver. The film, directed by Drake Doremus, will world premiere in the international competition section at the Venice Film Festival and will have its North American premiere in the Special Presentations program at the Toronto Film Festival.

The Weinstein Company announced in 2013 that it was working with Shane Salerno on developing a feature film adaptation of Salerno’s documentary about the author with a focus on Salinger’s life between his military service in World War II and the 1951 publication of “Catcher in the Rye.”

Salerno began working on the documentary in 2004. Salinger died in 2010. The documentary grossed $650,000 for TWC in 2013.

Hoult is represented by UTA, 42 and Felker Toczek.

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