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To Kill a Mockingbird to get first Broadway adaptation from Aaron Sorkin

Scott Rudin has acquired the professional stage adaptation rights to Harper Lee's classic novel

Jess Denham
Wednesday 10 February 2016 14:45
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Hero-lawyer: Gregory Peck, as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’
Hero-lawyer: Gregory Peck, as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film adaptation of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’

Harper Lee’s classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird is finally getting a Broadway adaptation, courtesy of Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning 1960 book about racial tension in the Deep South remains a go-to for school teachers and has already enjoyed huge success on the big screen.

Now, after 55 years, producer Scott Rudin has won the stage adaption rights and hired screenwriter and regular collaborator Sorkin to pen the script.

Sorkin and Rudin have worked together successfully on the likes of The Social Network, Steve Jobs and Moneyball and are fully aware of the pressure to do To Kill a Mockingbird justice.

To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most revered pieces of 20th century American literature,” he told the New York Times.

“It lives a little bit differently in everybody’s imagination in the way a great novel ought to, and then along I come. I’m not the equal of Harper Lee. No one is.”

Gregory Peck in the 1962 film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird

Rudin has already confirmed that Atticus Finch will be “the Atticus in To Kill a Mockingbird”, rather than the racist bigot controversially presented in Lee’s Go Set a Watchman last summer.

No casting decisions have been made yet but Tony Award winner Barlett Sher (South Pacific) will direct. Sher is supportive of Sorkin, believing him well suited to the novel’s “many important cultural, political and social questions”.

Sorkin has hinted that he will open the story differently and introduce some new dialogue to major scenes. “You can’t just wrap the original in bubble wrap and move it as gently as you can to the stage,” he said. “It’s blasphemous to say it, but as some point, I have to take over.”

To Kill a Mockingbird is expected to open in New York for the 2017-18 season.

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