If you're looking for a foolproof conversational ice breaker, try this on for size: "What would you think about a Catcher in the Rye movie?" That question is sure to provoke a bevy of responses, ranging from, "Those Hollywood phonies would ruin it," to "I'd love to see Holden Caulfield on the big screen," to "Anyone want to split an order of disco fries?" While it's fun to hypothesize about theoretical movies—and we'd never say no to an order of disco fries—this particular movie will never happen. According to the documentary Salinger, J.D. "don't call me J-Dizzle" Salinger set up a trust preventing a film version of The Catcher in the Rye from ever being produced. But while we may never see it on the big screen, we can still dream cast it.
You may know him as: Artie from Glee
Revamping Robert Ackley, a student described as a "peculiar, unhygienic nuisance with a terrible personality," into a slightly less abrasive, possibly even endearing character could only be possible in the hands of skilled actor. Kevin McHale is that actor. Plus, if ol' Ackley truly endeavored to win over a reluctant audience, he could break into song and dance and regale Caulfield with the Jackson Five classic "ABC"
to try and convince his wayward classmate how fun learning can truly be!
What's that? Did anyone else hear that noise? If you listen closely, you can hear J.D. Salinger's ghost furiously banging his ghost head against a ghost wall.
You may know her as: Haddie Braverman from Parenthood
If Catcher in the Rye ever became a movie, we imagine the role that would change the most would be Jane Gallagher. In the Hollywood version of Catcher we imagine Holden finally getting a hold of Jane, and the two meeting to play a poignant game of checkers. Wait, what are we thinking!? This is Hollywood, where the "a little less conversation, a little more action" proclamation reigns supreme! Instead of checkers, they'd probably partake in a PG-13 make out sesh—romantically scored by Mumford and Sons—followed by a winner-take-all dance-off between Holden and the dean of Pencey Prep. Holden is victorious, and re-enrolls at Pencey. Sounds like a happy ending, right? Wrong. The camera closes in on Jane as she wraps Holden in a celebratory embrace, opening her mouth to reveal that...she has fangs! Jane's a vampire! What happens next? Find out next summer, in Catcher in the Rye 2: The Vampire View.
You may know him as: Ben Wyatt from Parks and Recreation
The ambiguous role of Mr. Antolini requires someone with chops, and for that we call upon the dramatic prowess of Adam Scott. Before he brought his offbeat brand
of nerdy coolness to Pawnee,
he sharpened his theatrical skills in dramatic indie roles
. Seeing Scott in anything is like waking up an hour before your alarm clock and realizing you still have an extra hour of sleep: pure bliss.
You may know him as: Jake Puckerman from Glee
Everybody knows a guy like Ward Stradlater. Handsome, well-built, selectively nice when they need a favor, basically the worst-case scenario for your freshman roommate. Artist not only has the look, but he possesses a certain type of charisma necessary to portray a character like Stradlater. Here, one of our favorite Catcher quotes about Stradlater: "He hated it when you called him a moron. All morons hate it when you call them a moron."Yet we've never once met a baby who minded being called a baby. The world is a fascinating, confusing place.
You may remember her as: Renesmee Cullen from Twilight
When casting Phoebe Caulfield, one word comes to mind: precocious. Precocious, as we all know, means to "show the qualities of an adult at an unusually early age," and should not be confused with halitosis, which is officially defined as "something every professor who teaches an 8 a.m. class needs to Google."
You may know her as: Haley Dunphy from Modern Family
Out of all our casting decisions, this one excites us the most. Hyland is an accomplished comedic actress, but you also need someone who can evoke this specific type of romantic turmoil in a person:
"The funny part is, I felt like marrying her the minute I saw her. I'm crazy. I didn't even like her much, and yet all of a sudden I felt like I was in love with her and wanted to marry her."
One of Catcher in the Rye's greatest attributes is its ability to capture that indescribable feeling of being on a date and oscillating between liking someone, loving someone, hating someone, quick U-turn back to love after they compliment your taste in music, quick bathroom check to see if there's something in your teeth, and then just settling on our old standby emotion: awkward confusion.
You may remember him as: Charlie from Perks of Being a Wallflower
Who better to navigate the emotional complexities of adolescence than the actor who brilliantly captured the subtleties of the teenage mind in Perks
? Taking on a character who is simultaneously detached and unsuccessfully attempting to connect takes a rare kind of depth from a young actor. Nobody makes painfully awkward look less awkward
than Logan Lerman.
Runner up: Young Shawn Spencer himself, Liam James.
Who would be in your Catcher in the Rye dream cast?