Look, it’s a faithful adaptation of the book and its classic character beloved across the world, and I’ll perform my play based on the novel to prove it.
So says Broadway producer Scott Rudin in response to a lawsuit that challenges his adaptation of the iconic tale “To Kill A Mockingbird.” The personal representative of deceased author Harper Lee filed litigation last month in Alabama state court against Rudin and related parties.
Estate principal Tonja B. Carter objects to many things in the play, asserting that its presentation undermines the integrity of the novel and takes uncharted – and impermissible – liberties with fictional lawyer Atticus Finch.
Rudin says nonsense to that. Moreover, he counters, it’s really none of Carter’s business how he or noted writer Aaron Sorkin proceed with the play; they executed a contract with Lee prior to her death that expressly permits them to adapt Mockingbird to the stage.
Rudin centers pointedly on that in a return legal salvo to Carter. The producer quickly filed a federal lawsuit in the wake of Carter’s claim that demands she back off and, moreover, pay him $10 million in damages. He views her lawsuit as pure and unjustified meddling.
The agreement inked with Harper reportedly gave her no rights whatever over the play’s specifics. And Rudin says that it is ludicrous to hold that Carter should have a say in the play’s look or feel.
Rudin’s legal filing stresses that Carter “has no known expertise whatsoever in theater or writing.”
And he notes that, at any rate, his play is careful about preserving all essential elements of the story. He is willing to stage a performance for federal jury members to prove the point.