Actor Rafe Spall has said his upcoming West End adaptation of To Kill A Mockingbird is a “pertinent” story for the modern day.
The stage play is based on Harper Lee’s classic book which explores racial injustice and childhood innocence in southern America in the 1930s.
Spall, 38, will star as the lead character Atticus Finch, a small town country lawyer who is tasked with defending a black man who has been falsely accused of assaulting a white woman.
Speaking on The One Show, he said: “It’s a hard play. Any sort of classic book or play that has been done before, you’ve got to have a reason for doing it, its got to be pertinent to today, and this definitely is.”
The adaptation has been scripted by The West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin, who Spall described as “fantastic”.
He added: “He’s taken the best of the novel, but there’s some differences and things that people might find surprising and new and he’s found a new angle to it, which I’m really pleased to be part of it.”
Sorkin’s adaptation of the novel has already had a theatrical run on Broadway, which opened at the Shubert Theatre in 2018 with Jeff Daniels playing Atticus Finch.
It was announced in 2019 that the drama would be coming to the West End and it was due to open in 2020 to mark the 60th anniversary of the book’s publication, but the production was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The West End version is finally opening its doors at London’s Gielgud Theatre from March 10.
Lee’s novel, which was published in 1960 and won the Pulitzer Prize the following year, has sold more than 45 million copies around the world.
The US novelist, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, died in 2016 at the age of 89.
Spall previously starred in The War Of The Worlds TV series in 2019 and has also featured in 2015’s The Big Short, 2012’s Life Of Pi and 2007’s Hot Fuzz.
Sorkin won an Oscar for his screenplay for The Social Network and is also known for films such as Steve Jobs.