Tag Archives: Atticus Finch

Possible Movie RemAkes: Richard as Atticus Finch

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Original_movie_poster_for_the_film_To_Kill_a_MockingbirdIn a previous post, we’ve discussed Richard Armitage‘s versatility as an actor and chosen the roles we think best display his varied talents (see link below). So now, let’s discuss, just for the fun of it, some of our dream roles for Mr. A., focusing initially on possible remakes of classic films. This will be the first of several periodic posts on these films and your suggestions and input would be greatly welcomed and appreciated.

A principled small-town lawyer

I’ve talked before about my dream of seeing Richard take on the role of Atticus Finch, small-town southern lawyer and widowed father in To Kill a Mockingbird, based on the classic Depression-Era novel of the same name. I admit this project is one close to my heart because the novel’s author, Nell Harper Lee, is also a native Alabamian who lives in LA. (Lower Alabama). This year marked the 50th anniversary of the film.

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) with daughter Scout (Mary Badham).

Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck) with daughter Scout (Mary Badham).

I have also had the privilege to know a real-life Atticus Finch who was involved in one of the murder trials for a slain Civil Rights worker. He and his family received death threats during that ordeal but, like the fictional Atticus Finch, this gentleman never backed down from standing up for what he believed was right. I have a particular admiration for this sort of quiet man who speaks as loudly with his actions as he does with his words.

Atticus is a gentle and caring father and a principled man who refuses to be cowed by a group of would-be vigilantes, determined to lynch the black handyman accused of raping a white woman in the fictional town of Maycomb.

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Gregory Peck is much beloved in this role, but I think Richard, who’s proven he makes a great on-camera dad (can’t wait to see him in father role in Black Sky) would be more than up to the challenge of bringing this classic American novel’s central character to the screen again.  Atticus has been described as a “quiet man with strong shoulders.” Remind you of anyone?

A theatrical gem in my own backyard

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The witches (Jennifer Hunt, Suzanne Curtis, an...

Image via Wikipedia Alabama Shakespeare Festival (Photo credit: JohnTracy)

I’ve mentioned the iconic role of Atticus Finch as one I would love to see Richard interpret.  Now here is a place where I would dearly love to see him perform. He’s spoken of wanting to do more stage work–and I can attest to the quality of the stages and the actors who trod the boards here. And it is less than an hour from my home. It is the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. But don’t just take my potentially prejudiced word for it. Here is an excerpt from Southern Living Magazine.

Lend me your ears. Broadway hath nothing on the Bard in Alabama and neither does jolly olde England. I should know. I’ve enjoyed  some of London’s and New York’s best stage shebangs and marveled at the large-scale productions where headliners float on  massive hydraulic sets amid fireworks and fancy costumes. I can honestly tell you that I’ve never had a better theater experience  than at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival (ASF).                        

Alas, I can’t deny that Montgomery, the state’s sleepy capital, seems an unlikely place for the world’s sixth largest Shakespeare festival. There’s even a running joke among visiting actors and designers seeing the Carolyn Blount Theatre for the first time. “They often make a loud exclamation,” says ASF artistic director Kent Thompson. “They never expect the splendor and elegance of this building, especially in Alabama.” It’s true. When rounding that slow curve in Wynton M. Blount Cultural Park  and taking on a full view of the sprawling 100,000-square-foot complex, it’s hard not to gasp. The redbrick structure, based on the designs of a 16th-century Italian architect, stands regal before a small lake, complete with black swans. 

                                                                                                            

Carolyn_Blount_Theatre in Montgomery, Alabama,...

Image via Wikipedia

Hours Upon the Stage If you think the approach is great, just wait until the curtain rises. July is actually the finale of ASF’s repertory season,  which means six shows continually run in either the 750-seat Festival Stage or The Octagon, a 225-seat black box theater.  Naturally, the Bard’s timeless works take the lead, but the theater is as well-known for its contemporary productions as for its classics. Plays by modern greats, such as Tom Stoppard and Neil Simon, share billing with shows by up-and-coming playwrights.                                

Of course, a play is only as good as its acting, and this season’s company is made up of players from all over the country. “We recruit the finest actors from New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, among other places,” says Kent.                                

The diverse composition of talent, the phenomenal facilities, and the high-quality plays provide a complete theater experience. I stand behind my claim that pound of flesh for pound of flesh, ASF holds its own with any theater around.  

As you can see, ASF is a pretty special place. And Montgomery would be a great place to work on a southern accent. Plus, the Blount Cultural Park with its plentiful verdant spaces is a wonderful area to go for fresh air and exercise.  The locals are friendly (we don’t call it southern hospitality for nothing) and the food is fantastic. I’m just sayin’, Richard . . .

                              

                             

The iconic role I’d like to see Richard play . . .

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Mr. Armitage has the look of a true film star, n'est-ce pas?

I have mentioned I would love to see Richard play the role of Atticus Finch in a remake of To Kill a Mockingbird.  Ordinarily I am not one who cares to see true classics remade.  But then again, Richard Armitage is not your ordinary actor.

A half-century ago, Gregory Peck played the iconic role of  Atticus, the small town southern lawyer, widower and loving father of two who defends a black man accusing of raping a young white woman in fictional Maycomb, Alabama. Peck was a commanding presence with both gravitas and approachability, a professional unafraid to take on an difficult case and  a family man dealing with bringing up his motherless children.  Peck’s Atticus Finch is a honorable and down-to-earth man who wants to do the right thing,even if that isn’t the popular thing, and to  set a good example for his son and daughter.

Somehow I can imagine Richard sporting Atticus’s vest–waiscoat to those of you across the pond–and his horn-rimmed spectacles as he sits down in a rocking chair on the Finch home’s big, shady veranda to enjoy a talk with Scout and Jim.

Of course, I want to see Richard do original characters all his own in the future, too. But I think he could do a lot worse than the role of Atticus. There is also a stage version of the story, if he was hankering to work before a live audience. And if he wants to really soak up the atmosphere and work on his southern accent, I reckon I would be mighty glad to offer linguistic assistance and play tour guide. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?

Is it a positive sign Mr. Peck has appealing crinkles, too?