He may have starred in one of the biggest superhero franchises and movie sequels to date, but Nicholas Hoult was at his most vulnerable when playing J. D. Salinger in “Rebel in the Rye.”

“I’ve played real people before and that’s daunting, for sure. When it’s a literary icon — yeah, it was terrifying,” he said. “It’s the most scared I’ve ever been, but that’s also a good thing. It means you work harder. It means you’re scared and you push yourself.”

Hoult, costar Zoey Deutch, and writer-director Danny Strong visited the Variety Studio presented by Orville Redenbacher’s, at the Sundance Film Festival, to promote the film, which marks Strong’s feature directorial debut.