By Jeff Labrecque
Updated April 30, 2014 at 02:07 PM EDT
Credit: Michael Stewart/WireImage

Danny Strong, the screenwriter who penned the scripts for The Butler and the next two Hunger Games films, will make his directorial debut with Salinger’s War.

As first reported by the Hollywood Reporter, Strong had optioned Kenneth Slawensk’s biography about the Catcher in the Rye author, J.D. Salinger: A Life, and wrote the screenplay on spec. The adaptation will focus on a younger Salinger, an ambitious New York writer who is pulled into World War II after Pearl Harbor and encounters horrors in Europe that will forever change him and his writing.

Strong won two Emmys for the HBO movie Game Change, and fans of Mad Men know him as the diminutive Danny Siegel, who famously popped Roger Sterling in the groin. As an actor, Strong also had memorable runs on Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Filmmaker Shane Salerno, who directed a recent documentary about Salinger, is currently working on a rival biopic with The Weinstein Company.