RIP J.D. Salinger

This is one of the more interesting footnotes in superhero film history. Indeed, it might be one of the more interesting footnotes in film history. The 1990 film Captain America had as its leading man none other than Matt Salinger. Doesn't ring a bell? Well, Matt's father was J.D. Salinger (who just died at the ripe old age of 90), possibly the greatest American novelist since World War 2 and definitely the novelist with the greatest mythic persona (no easy feat with contemporaries like John Updike, Norman Mailer and Philip Roth. Salinger was, to say the least, an odd choice for the role. A number of actors who were much more well known than Salinger were up for the role of Captain America/Steve Rogers: Val Kilmer, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dolph Lundgren. Kilmer lost interest when he got the role of Jim Morrison in The Doors and Arnold and Dolph lost the role since they predictably couldn't get around their Teutonic accents. Salinger, a theatre actor with some good reviews behind him no doubt got the role due to his All-American good looks and, honestly, I doubt that the interest his last name would provoke didn't hurt. The film was never theatrically released in the US but did have a theatrical release in Europe, eventually making its way to VHS in the States. The film is not good, but it is a tremendous novelty in many ways, and Salinger is not horrible in the part; in other words, he looks fairly natural in his star spangled duds. He is no Mr. Universe, but his slim Captain America is not far from the original athletic and slim Captain America penned and drawn by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon. Weird no?