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Nicholas Hoult is J.D. Salinger in first look at Rebel in the Rye

The ‘X-Men’ star is portraying the acclaimed author in writer-director Danny Strong’s new biopic

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Alison Cohen Rosa

If you ever sat through a high school English class, there’s a 95 percent chance you read J.D. Salinger’s 1951 classic The Catcher in the Rye. But there’s also a high probability you don’t know a good deal about the enigmatic author. The new Salinger biopic Rebel in the Rye, which just started filming in New York and is produced by Black Label Media, looks to change that.

Starring Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: Apocalypse) as the celebrated writer and featuring a supporting cast that includes Kevin Spacey, Sarah Paulson, and Hope Davis, Rye picks up with Salinger in his early 20s and on the path to crafting his novel about angst-filled teenager Holden Caulfield.

“He was in many ways like Holden Caulfield,” says writer-director Danny Strong (Empire). “There’s a rebellious streak and a very interesting, dynamic way of how he looked at the world. He was very driven to be a writer. He really wanted it so bad and then when he got it, he ultimately didn’t want it anymore.”

For more exclusive first looks, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, on newsstands Friday, or buy it here – and subscribe now for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.