“The Catcher in the Rye,” J.D. Salinger’s beloved tale of lonely prep-school student Holden Caulfield, has been adapted as a 3-D animated musical.
“It’s essentially the same story we all love, but with a contemporary twist,” said director Robert Faux (pronounced “fox”). “We’ve embellished the original with some fun new characters, and we’ve also lightened up some of the grittier parts to make it more family-friendly.”
One exciting new character is Ira, a magical talking hunting hat who gives Holden advice about life, love and even nutrition.
“Ira was my brainchild,” Faux said. “He’s neurotic. He’s sarcastic. He’s hilarious. And he’s always with Holden. Jonah [Hill] does a great job making Ira the most memorable animated hat in film history.”
Sunny, the prostitute in the novel whom Holden meets in a botched attempt to lose his virginity, has been removed entirely from the story. Sunny’s pimp Maurice remains, reimagined as a sly but clumsy bellboy who tries to fool Holden into ordering room service from the expensive à la carte menu.
With a budget of $85 million, the film features some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, such as Justin Timberlake, who lends his soulful voice to 16-year-old Holden. Selena Gomez provides the voice for Sally Hayes, Holden’s romantic opposite. Writer and former NPR regular Sarah Vowell has the role of Holden’s sassy and smart 10-year-old sister Phoebe.
In case the star-studded cast isn’t enough to attract audiences, the film’s soundtrack boasts some of the music industry’s biggest names, like Jay-Z, Elton John, Katy Perry and Lana del Rey.
Click here to see a list of the top tracks from the movie
The film adds new plot elements to flesh out the original Holden, who often comes across as two-dimensional and staid, Faux said.
“We wanted to develop Holden’s macho core, so we put him through the mill to let the audience see how well he holds up,” Faux said.
One of the new scenes depicts Holden’s struggle to muster courage to rescue Phoebe and her schoolmates after they’ve been taken hostage by a crazed gunman.
“Have Holden’s solo adventures in New York helped him to grow into a brave man capable of heroic feats?” Faux said. “Did the action-packed fistfight with Stradlater give Holden the know-how to to knock out Phoebe’s assailant and save the entire school?”
You’ll just have to see the movie to find out.