AceShowbiz - Scott Rudin won't let anyone interfere his Broadway project. The producer has filed a lawsuit against late author Harper Lee's estate officials over their plans to halt his "To Kill a Mockingbird" Broadway adaptation.
Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is currently working on the script for a new stage version of Lee's beloved 1960 novel, which is set to open for previews in November, with Jeff Daniels starring as lead character Atticus Finch and Rudin producing.
Last month, however, Tonja B. Carter, the lawyer appointed to run Lee's estate, filed a complaint in a federal court arguing that the script violates a contract made between the producers and Lee, who authorised the play before she died in 2016.
The contract allegedly stipulated that "the Play shall not derogate or depart in any manner from the spirit of the Novel nor alter its characters", and the estate officials claim Sorkin's script is too different, particularly in its depiction of Finch.
According to the New York Times, Carter wrote a letter to Rudin earlier this year claiming the play's version of Finch is "rude and selfish" and "more like an edgy sitcom dad in the 21st Century than the iconic Atticus of the novel".
Rudin's lawyer, Jonathan Zavin, replied, acknowledging the play is different from the novel, but insisting that he it "does not derogate or depart from the spirit of the novel, nor alter the fundamental natures of the characters in the novel".
And now Rudin has launched his own $10 million complaint in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, claiming the estate's lawsuit threatens the Broadway play and investors "are not willing to invest millions of dollars when a cloud exists".
The producer is also seeking to dismiss the estate's lawsuit.