Harper Lee’s estate is complaining about Aaron Sorkin’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” Broadway version.
Harper Lee’s estate has filed a lawsuit in Alabama on Aaron Sorkin’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” Broadway adaptation alleges, the play of the script that distinguishes it from ” the spirit of the novel.”
Lee, who died in 2016 at the age of 89, wrote the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that was turned into a successful film won three oscars.
Lee signed a contract with producer Scott Rudin about eight months before her death, that gave him the rights to adapt her novel for $100,000 and a promise that the script would “remain faithful to the original story,” The Washington Post reported.
Rudin worked Sorkin, who is best known for writing “The Social Network” and “The West Wing” and pen the script.
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Lee’s estate lawyer, Tonja B. Carter, alleged Rudin and Sorkin adapted the novel of the main characters, Atticus Finch and his children Scout and Jem. The lawsuit also alleged the script changed in the roman legal proceedings against Tom Robinson, a black man who goes to the trial, after he is wrongly accused of raping a young white woman. The suit also argued that the script is “no longer presents a fair representation of the 1930’s a small town in Alabama.”
Scott Rudin signed a contract with Harper Lee about eight months before her death.
Carter first saw a draft of the play in September, according to the lawsuit, and they later spoke with Rudin by telephone to express concerns about. She spoke with Rudin in February about the script to add, “At times, the conversation was heated,” the lawsuit states.
Carter sued after Rudin, the lawyer wrote, responded earlier this month with a message stating extensive changes to the script is not possible, the suit said.
Sorkin has changed the script in violation of the agreement between Lee and Rudin, the suit claims. It asks a judge to enforce that part of the agreement that allegedly states the olympics are not “depart in any way from the spirit of the novel, nor a change of the characters.”
Rudin answered the lawsuit stated that he “can’t and won’t present a game that feels like it was written in the year that the book was written in terms of the racial politics.”
“It would not be of interest. The world has changed since then,” Rudin told The New York Times.
The lawyers of Lee’s estates said she was suspicious of Sorkin and Rudin ideas for the script after an interview with Vulture.com in 2013, in which Sorkin hinted that he would change the character evolution of Atticus Finch.
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“He is Atticus Finch by the end of the game,” Sorkin said. And while he passes, he has a kind of ongoing argument with Calpurnia, the housekeeper, that a much larger role in the piece, that I just wrote. He is in denial about his neighbors and his friends and the world around him, that it is just as racist as it is, that a Maycomb County jury possibly put Tom Robinson in prison, when it is so clear what happened here. He is an apologist for these people.”
Lee’s estate contacted Rudin in September, stating that it is “very important,” the characters in the script are not changed compared to the novel.
Rudin told The New York Times that he believed the lawsuit was “without merit.”
“This is, unfortunately, just another such lawsuit, the latest of many, and we believe that this is unfounded,” Rudin said.
His statement also took a jab in the “history of litigious behavior” of Lee’s estate, under the supervision of Carter.
The play is scheduled to begin previews on Nov. 1 and in Dec. 13 on Broadway. Jeff Daniels is slated to star as Atticus Finch.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.