Producer Sued over Inaccurate Broadway Version of Classic Novel

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. oblivious / əˈblɪv i əs / (adj) – not completely aware of an issue

    The child is still oblivious to societal problems.

  2. integrity / ɪnˈtɛg rɪ ti / (n) – the quality of obeying moral principles

    The lawyer is not willing to give up his integrity for money.

  3. depart / dɪˈpɑrt / (v) – to do something differently

    The novel’s writer disliked the film adaptation of her book because it departed from the original happy story.

  4. liberty / ˈlɪb ər ti / (n) – freedom

    The director was given the liberty to change the plot of the original source material.

  5. do justice to (something) / du ˈdʒʌs tɪs tu / (idiom) – to represent someone/something correctly

    I loved the film adaptation of the novel! The actors did justice to the characters.


Read the text below.

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.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

• If you were the writer, how would you feel if something was changed from your original work? Discuss.
• If you were a fan of the novel, would you still be interested to watch the play despite its inaccuracies? Why or why not?

Discussion B

• Should adaptations always remain true to their original source materials? Why or why not?
• If you were a writer, would you want to be greatly involved in the adaptations of your work? Explain.