Tag: Aaron Sorkin

Legal Battles Ensue Over ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’

Aaron Sorkin’s Broadway version of To Kill A Mockingbird sparked controversy before its release when the Harper Lee estate sued the producers, claiming the script deviated too much from the novel. The dispute was eventually settled before the play debuted, but new legal battles followed soon after.

The producer of the new adaptation, Scott Rudin, hit regional theatrical adaptations of the novel with cease and desist letters to stop production. These versions were using an older script written by Christopher Sergel, and due to a licensing agreement between Rudin and the Lee estate the productions were asked to stop.

The legal action garnered severe backlash, including a #BoycottRudinPlays hashtag on Twitter:


Feeling the severity of the backlash, Rudin has offered a compromise: Theater companies can still put on To Kill A Mockingbird, but they must use Sorkin’s script.


“We have been hard at work creating what I hope might be a solution for those theater companies that have been affected by this unfortunate set of circumstances, in which rights that were not available to them were licensed to them by a third party who did not have the right to do so.”


The announcement has garnered mixed reactions from theater companies who had already rehearsed the Sergel script. It is currently unknown if all the theater companies who had productions of To Kill A Mockingbird underway will use Sorkin’s script.



Featured Image Via Playbill

‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Actress Receives Standing Ovation

The word ‘timeless’ is thrown around a lot when speaking about 1962’s To Kill a Mocking Bird, but the film truly hasn’t seemed to age. Logically, of course, in a way it doesn’t. When the film is on, Atticus Finch always looks like a forty-six-year-old Gregory Peck, Scout Finch always looks like a ten-year- old Mary Badham, and those bright summer days always seem to fly by.


Image Via The Telegraph


“I have a vivid memory of watching it in my living room with my parents,” People reported  Celia Keenan-Bolger, the award-winning actress, telling a large audience. Near tears, Keenan-Bolger’s nostalgic tale drives home at what all stories strive for: emotional core.

However, by their nature emotions aren’t rational. They drive right past logic and stay with us in the back of our minds. Celia Keenan-Bolger told the awaiting audience how there was a “profound impact that Mary Badham’s performance as Scout Finch had on my life”. That’s not hyperbole, that’s emotional impact.


Image Via WWNO


There is a reason why we remember this story. After reaching fame as a child actress, Mary Badham told the Telegraph how, “I always called him Atticus and [Gregory Peck] still called me Scout right up to the end”. Since Mr. Peck’s death, Mary Badham has kept busy. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, she visited the Episcopal School  in Knoxville, Tennessee and spread the message of Harper Lee’s novel and its film adaptation, telling them how “[e]ducation is the key to freedom.”

When Aaron Sorkin underwent the challenge and now his adaptation of To Kill A Mocking Bird has hit Broadway. In what seems to be out of a fairy-tale,  Celia Keenan-Bolger, teary eyed, faced the audience and told them how Mary Badham’s performance as Scout became “an enduring icon to me and to young girls for many generations, so you can imagine what it felt like to find out that she is here today.”


Image Via Hollywood Reporter


Afterwards Mary Badham was welcomed to the show with a sea of applause and, for one moment, people came closer together. Perhaps this is why we see stage adaptations of old favorites. The new mediums gives the story a new light, the actors a new inflection, and, despite the differences, we still find the same thing we found before.


Featured Image Via NY T imes

Aaron Sorkin, Mockingbird cover

A Very Different Atticus Finch Awaits Us in New ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ Adaptation

In 2016, producer Scott Rudin acquired the stage rights to Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird and brought on veteran writer Aaron Sorkin to pen the script. Sorkin is a pretty busy guy, having just made his directorial debut with Molly’s Game. This story unsurprisingly got sidelined. But The New York Times announced its December 2018 Broadway premiere in a cartoonishly large ad.



Vulture asked Sorkin about his take on Mockingbird at the Toronto Film Festival last week, and he revealed some surprising tidbits. First, Sorkin isn’t strictly adhering to Lee’s book. He said, “As far as Atticus and his virtue goes, this is a different take on Mockingbird than Harper Lee’s or Horton Foote’s.”


Sorkin’s not necessarily adapting Lee’s book, but her story. His perspective will particularly affect Atticus Finch. Regarding this, Sorkin said:


He becomes Atticus Finch by the end of the play, and while he’s going along, he has a kind of running argument with Calpurnia, the housekeeper, which is a much bigger role in the play I just wrote. He is in denial about his neighbors and his friends and the world around him, that it is as racist as it is, that a Maycomb County jury could possibly put Tom Robinson in jail when it’s so obvious what happened here. He becomes an apologist for these people.


If this rings any civil rights bells, it’s because Sorkin isn’t shying away from contemporary race issues. Trump’s comments on Charlottesville particularly stand out to Sorkin. “All of a sudden, Donald Trump stood up at a news conference and said there are good people on both sides. And I went, ‘Wow, bingo. We hit it right in the middle.’”

Sorkin’s politics have always appeared onscreen, and, once upon a time, he was pretty optimistic. The West Wing was like any progressive’s dream state. Jed Bartlet, though. The Newsroom was also optimistic, though the writing seemed to have been motivated by a level of cynicism regarding the state of information. Hopefully Sorkin’s To Kill a Mockingbird will give us hope. One thing I hope for is a classic Sorkin walk-and-talk between Scout and Atticus.



Feature Images Via TVOvermind and Amazon

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7 Screenwriting Tips from Hollywood’s Top Screenwriter

Want to be a screenwriter? One of Hollywood’s most respected screen writers Aaron Sorkin has shared seven top tips, all of which can be found here


Aaron Sorkin, the writer behind The Social NetworkThe West WingMoneyball and most recently Molly’s Game, starring Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain, delivered his screenwriting tips ahead of the Molly’s Game premiere in Toronto on Friday.


Aaron Sorkin

Image Via Hollywood Reporter 


Included in these tips is some valuable advice from the late Carrie Fisher, who, while Sorkin was struggling with a drug addiction, phoned him out of the blue to tell him “I know you think you’re not going to be able to write as well without drugs, I promise you you’re going to write better.” She was, he says, 100% right. So, don’t do drugs kids. 


He also explains that a bad casting decision can hinder an entire project, and congratulated himself on the casting of Jessica Chastain, who, he says, was perfect in the role of Molly, a young woman who ran a notorious high-stakes underground poker game for actors and millionaires. 


Jessica Chastain in Mollys Game

Image Via GQ


So go on and check out all seven of his tips here, and get typing- Hollywood won’t wait! 


Featured Image Via Indie Film 


Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game

Jessica Chastain Stars in New Trailer for ‘Molly’s Game’

At 26, Molly Bloom became the subject of an FBI investigation into an underground poker ring involving Hollywood’s elite. Bloom, an Olympic-class skier ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for ten years before being arrested.


Bloom wrote a memoir of her time hosting the game entitled ‘Molly’s Game: From Hollywood’s Elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker.’ Stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tobey Maguire attended Molly’s game.



Aaron Sorkin has won numerous awards including Emmys, Golden Globes, and an Oscar. ‘Molly’s Game’ will be his first time directing.


‘Molly’s Game’ will hit theaters in the middle of awards season, premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival later this month.


It will be Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain’s first time working together, on which Sorkin commented to Variety, saying: 


The casting of Jessica and Idris in the two lead roles is any filmmaker’s dream come true. They’re two of the greatest actors of their generation, paired for the first time, and their chemistry will be electric.


Michael Cera, Brian d’Arcy James, Chris O’Dowd, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Claire Rankin and Kevin Costner also star. ‘Molly’s Game’ hits theaters November 22.


Featured Image Courtesy of GQ