Aaron Sorkin refused to write a "Harper Lee impersonation"
Aaron Sorkin opened up on “Salon Talks” about how he re-created the role of Atticus Finch for Tony Award nominee Jeff Daniels in his version of “To Kill a Mockingbird," currently on Broadway through September.
Sorkin admitted that his first draft of the show was “timid,” and that he only was able to truly dive into the writing process when he stopped thinking about the word “adaptation” and Harper Lee’s original. “I was gonna write a new play, that I wasn't gonna pretend I was writing it in 1960 and I wasn't gonna try to do a Harper Lee impersonation,” Sorkin told SalonTV’s Andrew O’Hehir.
While Lee’s version of Atticus was “carved out of marble” and flawless, Sorkin was determined to inject imperfection into the character for Daniels.”
“I realized that I didn't have to give him a flaw. He already had one—it's just that. When I learned the book in seventh, eighth, ninth grade or whenever it was, and I think that when most people learn the book, we're taught that that flaw is a virtue. Atticus believes that there is goodness in everyone, that you just have to look hard enough, that you'd just have to crawl around, as he says, ‘You have to crawl around inside someone else's skin, for a while and you can find the goodness.’ He excuses racism all over the place.”
Watch Sorkin’s full “Salon Talks” episode to hear more about why Sorkin thinks Atticus would find reasons to be compassionate about Trump voters and the right wing website where he found inspiration for some of the secondary characters.
To learn more about the starring roles of Atticus and Scout, watch the “Salon Talks” episode with Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger.
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