Harper Lee’s bestselling novel To Kill a Mockingbird was made into a movie released 55 years ago. It still holds up, and made us all wish Gregory Peck was our father (or husband, as the case may be). Maybe it’s time we learned some of the negotiations and personalities bend the film.
1. ROCK HUDSON ALMOST PLAYED ATTICUS FINCH.
Universal Pictures offered the role to Rock Hudson when the project was first being developed, and the actor was prepared to take it. Things stalled, however, when the film's producer, Alan J. Pakula, wanted an even bigger star: Gregory Peck. Universal basically said, "Well, sure! If you can get Gregory Peck, we'll not only agree to it, we'll finance the movie!" And that's what happened. Sorry, Rock.
4. THEY COULDN'T SHOOT ON LOCATION BECAUSE THE REAL TOWN HAD BECOME MODERNIZED.
Lee based the novel's fiction town of Maycomb, Alabama on her own experiences growing up in Monroeville, Alabama during the Depression, with a lawyer father who had (unsuccessfully) defended two black men against rape charges. Peck, Pakula, and a small crew visited Monroeville to do some research, and to see if they could make the movie there. They found the town as charming and welcoming as they'd hoped, but it no longer bore much physical resemblance to the way it had looked 30 years earlier. That was disappointing for the filmmakers, but probably a good sign for the locals. (Imagine how sad it would be for a town in 1961 to look like it was still in the midst of the Depression.)
There’s lots more to learn about the making of To Kill a Mockingbird in a trivia list at mental_floss.