THIS SUNDAY ON "60 MINUTES": JEFF DANIELS ON PLAYING ATTICUS FINCH ON BROADWAY: "YOU'RE GOING TO RECOGNIZE IT, BUT WE'RE GOING TO TAKE YOU ON A RIDE"
With Great Expectations, "To Kill a Mockingbird" Takes to the Stage
Jeff Daniels, the award-winning actor chosen to play the lead role in the stage version of America's most-loved novel, tells audiences to buckle up for his performance as Atticus Finch. Steve Kroft visits the set of "To Kill a Mockingbird" to talk with the actors and the playwright about what audiences can expect in the stage version of a story held dearly in the hearts of generations. Kroft's report on "To Kill a Mockingbird" on Broadway will be broadcast on 60 MINUTES, Sunday, Nov. 25 (7:30-8:30 PM, ET/7:00-8:00 PM, PT) on the CBS Television Network.
The novel, written by Harper Lee and recently voted America's most-loved book, was made into a 1962 classic film, starring Gregory Peck in the Oscar-winning role of small town lawyer Finch. The new play is not based on the film, says Daniels, who calls this the "highest-profile role" of his career. He is not Peck, he says, but he will be Atticus. "So all these people who love this book, all these people who loved Gregory Peck - delete, delete, delete, delete, delete, delete," Daniels says for effect. "I'm originating the role as far as I am concerned. There is no movie. There's a book that we're basing it on," he tells Kroft.
"Part of our job is to say, 'Welcome. Put the book down. Put the movie away. We're going to do the same thing. You're going to recognize it. But we're going to take you on a ride,'" says Daniels. "'You think we're supposed to go over here? Well, we're going over here,'" he says, pointing in the other direction.
The play is written by award-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin and his partners, including director Bartlett Sher and producer Scott Rudin, had to contend with a lawsuit brought by the manager of Lee's estate, who accused the production of not being faithful to the "spirit of the novel." The parties settled out of court earlier this year.
The play is written for today's audience, Sorkin tells Kroft, but says everyone will recognize it. "There is no event in the play that does not occur in the book. I have not added new things. It's going to be a new look at familiar material. It's going to be an exhilarating night in the theater," says Sorkin.
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