The long, contentious battle for a Broadway-bound production of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird is finally over.
In February 2016, Aaron Sorkin, creator of The West Wing and an adult man with impossibly tiny glasses, revealed that he was hired to adapt the canonical novel on systemic racism for Broadway. Lee passed away at age 89 just nine days later. Fast forward two years, in March 2018, and the estate of the late Harper Lee hit Sorkin with a lawsuit, arguing that “Mr. Sorkin’s adaptation deviates too much from the novel, and violates a contract, between Ms. Lee and the producers, which stipulates that the characters and plot must remain faithful to the spirit of the book.” The main issue was that Sorkin allegedly wrote the book’s beloved Atticus Finch as some racist apologist at the heart of its central conflict. This is in direct opposition of how the Lee estate describes Finch: “the crusading lawyer who represents a black man unjustly accused of rape.” Which makes me wonder—has he ever read To Kill a Mockingbird?
There’s been some back-and-forth since—Broadway producer Scott Rudin fired back at Lee’s estate with a $10 million countersuit. But it’s over now, according to a joint statement filed by both Rudin’s production company Rudinplay and the Lee estate. The play is back on and it will not die.
Vulture reports that both parties claim to have “amicably settled,” but the details of what that means has yet to be revealed. Let’s just hope Sorkin and company stick to the damn book, eh?