Aaron Sorkin, whose stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird resumes performances on Broadway next week, says in a new interview that Scott Rudin, the show’s former producer, “got what he deserves” after details of past bullying and workplace abuse came to light last spring. But the writer adds that he has refrained from publicly commenting on the situation because Rudin’s “lying flat on the mat right now, and I don’t know how it’s helpful for me to stand on his torso and kind of jump up and down.”
In the interview with Vanity Fair, Sorkin, who also worked with Rudin on the films The Social Network, Steve Jobs and Moneyball as well as TV series The Newsroom, says that while he was aware of Rudin’s The Devil Wears Prada-type behavior, he did not witness or know about the alleged incidences of physical violence (former Rudin staffers have accused their old boss of throwing objects at them and, in one case, slamming a laptop shut on an employee’s hand).
“There’s nothing physical at all in the stories that I heard,” Sorkin says. “Had I known, there’s no chance I would’ve tolerated it, there’s no chance [Mockingbird director] Bart Sher would’ve tolerated it, that Jeff Daniels would’ve tolerated it. So we didn’t know. And once we did, we did something about it.”
Sorkin says he hasn’t spoken to Rudin since the Zoom call in April that ended their professional relationship after the Hollywood Reporter detailed the accusations. Rudin, Sorkin confirms, is no longer compensated as a producer, nor does he have any ongoing involvement in the production of the play (which resumes performances Oct. 5). Rudin’s stake as an investor, Sorkin says, “will continue to be honored.”
Here are some other highlights of the interview, which can be read in full here:
- “In the last, I think, 12 years, I’ve worked with Scott a lot – three feature films, an HBO series, and a Broadway play. And it was painful to read that Hollywood Reporter story, particularly because it’s pretty likely that some of those assistants who were being abused were working on something I wrote while they were being abused. So I took it personally. Whether it’s a movie set, or a rehearsal room for a play, or backstage for a play, or a television series, morale is important to me. And I take a lot of pride in creating a place where people are really happy to come to work, where they feel a sense of ownership, a sense of authorship, a sense of family. And we have that at Mockingbird. We’ve always had that in Mockingbird. So this came as a big shock.”
- On is communications with Rudin: “There was only one conversation. It was a Zoom call with Bart, Scott, and myself, and it was made clear that Scott would no longer have any relationship with To Kill a Mockingbird, either the Broadway company or the London company or the national tour. So Scott isn’t involved anymore. And we brought in a wonderful producer named Orin Wolf, who was already producing the national tour. He’s doing a great job as captain of the ship now.”
- On the potential for a Rudin comeback: “I have no idea. I honestly have no idea. I don’t know what he’s doing now. But I’ll say this: I hope he gets better. I feel the way I would with an alcoholic or an addict. I hope he gets better.”
- To Kill a Mockingbird, with Jeff Daniels and Celia Keenan-Bolger returning in their lead roles, will include some post-shutdown adjustments, though Sorkin wouldn’t offer details: “[T]here are things that we’re doing in this 2.0 production that I wouldn’t want to give away. But everything that’s gone on – George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, the BLM movement – is on our minds as we’re doing this.”
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