Taking a break from his routine of writing screenplays about rich men creating things, Variety reports that Aaron Sorkin is penning a stage adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird. The adaptation is slated to debut on Broadway next season under the direction of Tony winner Bartlett Sher, with Scott Rudin producing.
The project could prove a natural fit for Sorkin, combining the idealism of The West Wing and The American President with the legal procedural structure he used in A Few Good Men (which was originally a play) and his Oscar-winning script for The Social Network. While this isn’t the first time he’s adapted another author, it does appear to be the first time he’s adapted a novel, as opposed to the nonfiction works that led to Steve Jobs, Charlie Wilson’s War and Moneyball. One of the bigger questions about the project is whether Mockingbird will allow him to insert his trademark verbal volleying, or whether he will seek to preserve the tone of Lee’s Pulitzer-winning prose, as Robert Mulligan’s film version did.
Harper Lee’s 1960 novel is considered one of the all-time classics of American literature; set in Depression-era Alabama, it tells the story of Scout Finch, who comes of age when her sainted father agrees to defend a black man accused of rape. The near-unanimous praise around the book took a bit of a hit last year, when follow-up Go Set A Watchman was released. Not only did many question whether the now-elderly Lee actually wanted it published, but fans were disappointed by what had happened to their favorite characters since the events of Mockingbird.
Because Mockingbird is still in its early stages, no cast has been announced, leaving it to us to speculate about who could possibly fill Gregory Peck’s Oscar-winning shoes as Atticus Finch. (Kyle Chandler. Kyle Chandler is the answer.)