To Kill a Mockingbird: time for a remake?

The 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird is upon us, according to an article in The New York Times. This book has to be on anyone’s top ten list of Southern novels, and the reclusiveness of its author, Harper Lee, and her Truman Capote connection make it all the more intriguing.

Then there’s the movie. Released in 1962, it is remembered for great performances by Gregory Peck, who defined the Atticus character forever, and a young Robert Duvall, who played Boo Radley. The late playwright Horton Foote wrote the screenplay, the film won three Oscars, and was ranked number 25 on the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movies.

I watched To Kill a Mockingbird a while ago for the first time in decades and, while again impressed by Gregory Peck and Robert Duvall, I found myself cringing at the awful performances by the child actors. Compared to, say, the superb youthful role-playing in the Harry Potter movies, the parts of Scout, Jem, and Dill come up far short.

It’s time for a remake. I would cast Tom Hanks as Atticus and, for old time’s sake, Robert Duvall as the judge. The other roles should be parceled out among the talented young actors of our time. Maybe Harper Lee could be enticed into a cameo.

A new cinematic To Kill a Mockingbird would make this wonderful story more approachable to modern viewers, would reinterpret a classic Southern novel, and get more people thinking about the timeless themes in the book.

7 Responses to To Kill a Mockingbird: time for a remake?

  1. Steven says:

    They made what could possibly be considered somewhat of a re-make a few years back- “A Time to Kill” with Donald Sutherland, Kenau Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L Jackson, among the cast.

    It dealt basically with the same principles; a Lawyer defending an accused Black man in a murder case; the heroes overcome many obstacles, & dangers to ultimately win the day….

  2. Jamie Dawson says:

    I think it would be a wonderful idea to remake To Kill a Mockingbird. I can understand the hesitation, what with Gregory Peck embodying the role superbly, but this can’t be a good enough reason for never remaking this film.

    We need to remember that the story was a novel first and then adapted to film. If you go back and read the book, you find that there is ample room for another interpretation. Many elements of the story had to be condensed or eliminated in the film to keep it to an acceptable running time in theaters. This is always the case with novels adapted to film and it is understandable. Film is paced so much faster than a good novel. But to say Gregory Peck WAS Atticus Finch and no one else could ever play that role again is a little silly. So many wonderful films have been remade and new actors and directors,and script writers for that matter, have pulled out elements of a story that give a completely new take on it. Little Women and Huckleberry Finn are beloved stories that have each been turned into films numerous times. Katherine Hepburn’s interpretation of Jo is no less faithful than is Winona Ryder’s, different to be sure but no less enjoyable. I suppose the fear might be that a new version might be terrible, or worse, politically corrected. a new film, successful or not, need not take away from the 1962 film.

    I can’t see Tom Hanks in the lead of To Kill a Mockingbird. It would be too much like watching Forrest Gump with a law degree. He is a very talented actor but I would have a hard time forgetting Forrest. I have no real alternative suggestion. It would be a very hard job for the casting people if they chose to do another version. I think the other roles would be best served by unknown actors, particularly the children. No spoiled hollywood child stars, PLEASE!

    A new 21st century adaption of the novel would be a great idea. Maybe even filming some of it on location in the deep south would be an idea. I understand that the 1962 film was filmed entirely in Hollywood, although it really does fool you into thinking it might have been shot on location. The give-away is that there are no really wide shots of the town.

  3. bes says:

    The problem is harry potter is dreadful don’t want that to spoil this do we and done of JKRowlings ideas are original and what has she done since its a poor excuse of a book

  4. nicholas o says:

    Im reading the book and i have found myself intensely engaged in the charming novel. I need to watch the movie because the praise for peck seems amazing. I want to see a remake but am hard to see how they would modfiy it. While i was reading the book i saw 1 actor who could play the part of atticus : JAMES MARSDEN. Sources include his amazing performance as allys fiance in the notebook. He could play the part with such ease and 2nd nature. I want to see a remake with him, the other characters i cant see :-\ but i suppose thats the hard part in a remake.

  5. Martin says:

    I’ve just finished reading this, and am surprised to see it coincide with the soon to be released 50th Anniversary Blu-ray.

    I’ve had a good think about this, and if a remake were to go ahead…This would be my dream.

    Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin
    Cinematography: Roger Deakins

    Atticus: Brad Pitt
    Boo Radley: James Butler Harner

    Not sure about director or other actors though. I know some people might not be convinced by the Brad Pitt suggestion, but as he’s matured and become more of a family man, and his film roles have reflected this. His roles in films like The Tree Of Life, and Moneyball show he would have what it takes to play Atticus Finch.

  6. Shannon says:

    I agree completely that they should remake this movie. I read to kill a mockingbird for tue first time this year and I loved it. I also just watched the movie for tje first time and loved it, but I think a remake would be awesome. They remade true grit and it turned out pretty good so I don’t see why making a remake for this would be a bad thing. I’ve actually had the idea of a remake stuck in my head since I read it. I hope they do remake it and soon!

  7. Judy Temple says:

    The town of Morrowville, Alabama,Off of 65 close to Mobile, Has a courthouse that looks just like the one in the movie,went their this yr Very impressive.The Author was from there.Need to ck it out.

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