Writers Complete New Screenplay Retelling “To Kill a Mockingbird” Through Black Characters

“To Kill a Mockingbird in Harlem – 1963” Takes a Bold Look at Racial Equality in America Through a Different Perspective
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To Kill A Mockingbird


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NEW YORK - Feb. 17, 2016 - PRLog -- Based on the classic novel and iconic movie “To Kill A Mockingbird,” a new version of the beloved tale of challenging racial injustice in America has been completed by screenwriters Korstiaan “Kors” Vandiver and Austin Kutscher, M.D. The writers are seeking a production team and talent actors to help bring the narrative to the big screen.

“We completed this script at an important time in entertainment history when Black actors are speaking out about receiving fair recognition for their accomplishments,” said Kustcher. “Gregory Peck won Best Actor for his powerful portrayal of Atticus Finch. Our goal is to keep the spirit of the landmark film (which was directed and produced by Alan J. Pakula and Robert Mulligan for Universal Studios) alive and open the door for Black actors to obtain the same level of distinction.”

In this film adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, the races of the main characters are changed so that Mockingbird’s hero, Atticus Finch, is a Black minister. The setting is also moved from the Deep South in 1933 to Harlem, New York in 1963. Finch is a World War II hero who saved his unit from a sniper attack. He pledges to become a minister a bible in his pocket blocks a bullet. Upon returning home, he finds that his beloved community has changed dramatically and is on the verge of riots as drugs and poverty have overrun the neighborhood. The widower is also raising two children who find themselves in the middle of a community crisis that starts when a Jewish store owner is accused of assaulting a black girl.

“The rest of the story line remains consistent with the original, yet allows for the casting of black actors in many of the prominent roles,” said Kutscher. “The theme also reiterates Mockingbird’s original theme of fostering racial understanding, which remains a huge topic of discussion in America today. We hope that our version of the Mockingbird story will convey many important lessons to a new generation.”

The writing partners have diverse backgrounds and incorporated their own personal experiences and perspectives on equality and justice into the story.

“For me, Mockingbird not only mirrors the current goings on in Ferguson or New York, it is a reflection of my own life and the war on black men that has been being waged since slave ships reached the banks of Africa,” said Vandiver. “I recently had an experience when a police officer pulled me over during a traffic stop. He brandished his weapon while looking into my back seat only to see my then 6-month-old son. When I asked him why would he do this, he replied ‘don’t start that, racism is over.’”

Vandiver directed, wrote and produced the award winning short film, "LU", starring Nate Parker, Emayatzy Corinealdi and Omari Hardwick. Based on true events, Lu is a marine diagnosed with PTSD who sets out years later to find a woman caught in the crossfire during a firefight in Iraq. Vandiver’s writing talent and his projects have caught the interest of ICM, WME, Sony/Columbia, Fox and Anonymous Content along with celebrated talent such as actor Ryan Gosling and actress Nicole Beharie. His partner company, Innervision Filmworks also documented the behind-the-scenes process for the Sundance $17.5 million dollar hit “The Birth of a Nation” directed by Nate Parker. His latest project "Reveille” stars rising talents, Skylan Brooks and Dominic Bogart.

Kutscher is the former mayor of Flemington, NJ and recently served a three-year term as the Governor of the New Jersey American College of Cardiology. He authored a memoir “Watching Walter Cronkite: Reflections on Growing up in the 1950s and 1960s,” which chronicled the political and racial problems of New York City during this tumultuous period.

For more information about “To Kill a Mockingbird in Harlem – 1963,” please contact Kutscher at (908) 507-0131 or kenaustinjr@yahoo.com

Ken Kutscher
Source:Ken Kutscher, MD
Tags:Motion Picture, Script, Mockingbird, Motion Picture Script, To Kill A Mockingbird
Location:New York City - New York - United States
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