CORNISH, NH—Famed literary giant and notorious recluse J.D. Salinger, who has not published any new work since 1965, came out of hiding Monday to gush about the new film Terminator Salvation, offering the world its first glimpse into his private life since his last interview nearly 30 years ago.
"I believe that a writer's privacy is among his most precious possessions, in that personal information about him distracts readers from what is most important: the work itself," the author of The Catcher In The Rye told reporters outside the Claremont Cinema 6 theater, moments after seeing the film for the third time. "But on the other hand, the new revival of the Terminator franchise is just way too awesome for me to remain quiet any longer. Hello? Time-travel paradoxes? Freaking amazing!"
"How sweet was it when that giant robot hand reached in through the roof and grabbed that old lady?" Salinger added. "Or when those motorcycle terminators detached from its legs and started speeding toward the escaping resistance fighters? Holy crap, was that fucking cool or what?"
Salinger, 90, explained that he first became a fan of the Terminator franchise in 1991, when he saw Terminator 2: Judgment Day and found the character of the young John Connor to be "a striking figure of teenage alienation and disillusionment." His interest in the series continued with his rental of the first Terminator film, which he described as "almost as awesome as the second one," and his Amazon purchase of Terminator 3: Rise Of The Machines on Blu-ray.
Salinger, whose fictional works featuring the Glass family are considered some of the most influential contributions to 20th-century American literature, stated that he "liked Terminator 3 okay," but that it was, in his opinion, "nowhere near as cool as the new film." In fact, the latest installment has so far exceeded his expectations that he has reversed nearly half a century of shunning the media.
In an interview granted to The Paris Review, The New York Review Of Books, Time, Newsweek, and Us Weekly, Salinger called Christian Bale "the most badass version of John Connor yet" and described the film's postapocalyptic war with the machines setting as "totally mind-blowing."
"I admit I was worried about it as first," Salinger explained to enthralled reporters. "The decision to go with McG as the new director seemed like a bad mistake—I mean, he made the Charlie's Angels movies for chrissakes—but boy oh boy was I worried for nothing. T4 may well be more awesome than the first three goddamn films combined, if you can believe that."
Added Salinger, "Those hydrobots are scary as shit."
He then invited reporters into his remote New Hampshire compound to discuss the movie in more detail.
"Come in, come in, sit down, there's plenty of space," an exuberant Salinger told reporters, gesturing around his sitting room, which was filled with movie posters, comic books, and other Terminator collectibles, including a life-sized statue of the T-800 Model terminator as portrayed by Arnold Schwarzenegger. "What a frigging inspired choice to cast Bryce Dallas Howard. She made so much more sense in that part than Claire Danes."
Although the sole film made from Salinger's work, My Foolish Heart, based on his short story "Uncle Wiggily In Connecticut," was considered by Salinger to be such a bastardization of his prose that he never agreed to another adaptation, he now states that "if McG wants to do any of my stuff—'A Perfect Day For Bananafish'; Raise High The Roof Beam, Carpenters; hell, all of Nine Stories—he has my complete permission. Anything. Anything he wants."
When asked what he thought of today's novelists, and whether he had plans to publish any new work, Salinger replied that he loved it when the helicopter crashes and John Connor gets grabbed by that terminator that's only half a torso, and then he blows it away with the mounted machine gun.
"But by far the best part is when they reveal the T-800 for the first time and it looks just like a young Schwarzenegger," said Salinger, his voice reaching a fever pitch. "I was like, 'Holy shit.' I guess they must've used CGI or something to get that face just right. But what a moment! I practically lost it, if you want to know the truth."
Besides setting the literary community abuzz, Salinger's decision to come out of seclusion has allowed scholars access to his massive archive of unpublished work for the first time. So far, critics have examined three never-before-seen novels, eight novellas, and more than two dozen short stories—all of which appear to be Terminator fan fiction.
"But make no mistake," said Salinger expert Professor Duane Hartworth of nearby Dartmouth College, "this is without a doubt the most personal and affecting body of Terminator fan fiction ever discovered."
Salinger had only one negative comment for interviewers: He condemned the TV spin-off series The Sarah Connor Chronicles, saying that people who like that show are "a bunch of goddamn phonies."