Tag Archives: Harper Lee

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?

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?