Bonstelle actors to meet original ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ actress

Find the original South End article here.

Mary Badham, who played Scout in the 1962 movie, to be in attendance at Redford Theatre screenings Jan. 14-15

By DONALD BARNES | The South End

Mary Badham will be in Detroit at the Redford Theatre, Jan. 14 and 15, for the screening of her acting debut To Kill a Mockingbird. The Bonstelle Theatre’s cast of To Kill A Mockingbird will be in attendance and will have a meet-and-greet with Badham.

Badham, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role of Scout, didn’t understand the magnitude of her character until later.

“I don’t think I recognized anything” Badham said. “It’s quite an honor to be connected with a book and a film that bring out those points and promote the discussion of them.”  After the screening, she will answer questions about her role, experiences she had and the book on which the movie and play are based.

“It’s not everyday you get to meet the actor who originated a role, let alone a role you had the opportunity to play yourself,” Bonstelle actress Siena Hassett, who played Scout in the theater’s production that closed last month, said. “I am super thrilled to be given the distinct honor and privilege of meeting the woman who has touched so many hearts and continues to do so with her groundbreaking performance as Scout Finch. It’s very exciting.”

The book and movie were both successful, with the book winning the Pulitzer Prize and the movie winning three Academy Awards. They stand today as models for equality.

“The moral issue that stuck out to me was imbedded in Scout’s struggle of understanding who is truthfully right and wrong, good and evil,” Hassett said. “Her childhood innocence is challenged by the hatred and prejudice that surrounds her. It is her father Atticus who teaches her what is right and who is good through doing the right thing.”

It seemed to Hassett that she had been preparing for the role throughout her childhood.  “This story is very personal to me, not only because I played the part, but because I was a lot like Scout in my childhood” Hassett said. “I was always outside playing tackle football, street hockey, wearing my brother’s clothes and worn out Vans skate shoes with bruises and scabs on my knees and elbows from all the adventures and playing around we did in the neighborhood.

“Always asking questions, speaking my mind and wanting to be a part of everything. It was very magical to relive myself as a child all these years later.”

Badham, who now travels the world and speaks on the book and movie’s message, feels it is important for people to understand the meaning of equality, love and peace.

“In my lectures I talk about the importance of family, the importance of being a good role model to your children, the importance of reading to your children, and the importance of knowing your family history” Badham said.

“I truly believe that if we have strong families that are aware and participate in the community then that makes for a stronger community which helps build a stronger country.”  There will be three screenings, one Friday the 14th and two on the 15th.

The Redford Theatre is located at 17360 Lahser Road on Detroit’s west side. Admission is $5 and parking is free.

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