Aaron Sorkin remembers treasuring a favorite scene in the novel “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and in the 1962 movie version that starred Gregory Peck. But you won’t find that scene in his hit Broadway adaptation of the title.
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You probably know the one: It’s the scene in the courtroom, in which the African Americans all stand in silent respect for Atticus Finch. But Sorkin cut it from the stage version — and explained why the moment troubled him — on the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast.
“I realized that what it was, was that those people … should be burning the courthouse down,” he said. “They should be rioting in the streets. They should be chanting, ‘No justice, no peace.’ But instead, they are standing silently, docile, in gratitude to the white liberal guy for being ‘one of the good ones.'” And that reaction informed how he went about giving “a quarter-turn of the wrench” to certain key elements and characters in the story, he explained, to fall in line with contemporary thinking.
Also on “Stagecraft,” Sorkin gamely answered the inevitable question about a revival of his fan-favorite series “The West Wing,” posited that it might be time for a follow-up to his Mark Zuckerberg bio “The Social Network” and revealed just how important the theater remains for him.
“I still feel out of place in L.A.,” he said. “I still feel out of place on a movie set. I’m still most comfortable in a rehearsal room where the set is taped out on the floor.”
New episodes of “Stagecraft” are available every Tuesday. Download and subscribe to “Stagecraft” on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher or anywhere finer podcasts are dispensed. Find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.