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The producer of a New York theater company is now being sued due to the inaccurate adaptation of the classic novel To Kill a Mockingbird.
Last March, Tonja Carter, the lawyer who runs the estate of the novel’s late author Harper Lee, filed a lawsuit against Broadway producer Scott Rudin. Carter claims that the Broadway script’s portrayal of the protagonist, Atticus Finch, contradicts his righteous image in the novel.
In the novel, Finch is an American lawyer representing a person of color during a time when racism was prevalent in the United States. However, the play depicts Finch as someone who is oblivious to racism, although he eventually gained a sense of integrity after being exposed to his neighbors’ racist ways.
The contract that Lee and Rudin signed in 2015 stated that the play cannot depart from the ideas of the original novel nor alter its characters. In February, Carter spoke with Rudin to express her concerns about the script. However, the two parties did not reach a resolution.
Inaccurate adaptations of books are not uncommon. Aside from Broadway versions, other media like films and TV series have also taken creative liberties with their source materials.
An example of these inaccurate adaptations is the miniseries Earthsea. Ursula Le Guin, the author of sci-fi Earthsea novels, said that the miniseries left out an important concept in her story. Another example is Disney’s 1964 film adaptation of Mary Poppins, a children’s classic book. Author P.L. Travers had issues with the animation sequence and thought that the film did not do justice to the protagonist’s character.