W: Don't you want to be Franny, from Franny and Zooey?
Ryder: Unfortunately, I am Franny! But I couldn't play her anymore. Franny was very young. How the hell J.D. knew that much about young girls is beyond me. I don't read biographies of him, but I was one of the bidders on the letters that horrible woman was selling.
W: You tried to buy Joyce Maynard's letters?
Ryder: I was outbid by a man who had the exact same plan I had— to offer them back to Salinger. And if he didn't want them, to ignite them. Salinger has asked in every way possible for his privacy. I know a little bit what that's like. I love being an actress, but I never, ever thought that meant anybody had the right to know anything about my personal life. I still stand by the idea that acting does not mean you have to give up your personal privacy.
W: That issue comes up in Simone, with Al Pacino, which is about a computer-generated celebrity, who of course can't do live interviews. How did you get involved with the film?
Ryder: I got a call from Al. He's an insomniac. We talk in the middle of the night. You know I did that Looking for Richard thing with him. And unbeknownst to all of us, it came out as a film. It was supposed to be for Al's archives. It's sort of the genius A1 Pacino—he can talk you into just about anything.
W: Are you an insomniac?
Ryder: Yes, I don't sleep, he doesn't sleep. So it is very normal that we call each other at two in the morning. I just love him so much. Obviously his work is stellar and brilliant, but as a person he is just one of the most wonderful, generous people I have ever known. So from that we had this friendship. And I personally think he's incredibly attractive. I find him just irresistible, and there is this age difference between us, but...
W: Did you have rehearsals with him for The Godfather III before you dropped out of that film?
Ryder: No, I spoke to him on the phone then. When I didn't do the movie, he called me and was like, "Don't worry about it." At the end of the day I am glad I didn't do that film. I mean, I would have loved to have been a part of it, but I don't know...
W: Did you ever think when you were growing up on a commune that you would be famous and have a lot of money?
Ryder: Certainly that was not encouraged. But I wouldn't say it was discouraged. My parents always wanted me to do something important. I wanted very much to be a writer, or an activist. I wanted to change the world, to be part of a movement. I never thought of myself as being in any kind of a spotlight.