Fifty-five years after Harper Lee published her first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” which went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and was later adapted into the iconic American film starring Gregory Peck as unshakably decent attorney Atticus Finch, PBS docuseries “American Masters” will celebrate the release of her second by presenting an updated version of filmmaker Mary Murphy’s “Hey, Boo.”
The re-airing comes as part of a 13-day slate of on air, online and community programming by New York PBS affiliate THIRTEEN, which produces “American Masters.”
Murphy, who updated the film after receiving advance access to Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman” (to be published by HarperCollins July 14), also plans to live tweet the premiere, set for July 10 at 9pm on PBS.
The highly anticipated novel, which is the most preordered book in the history of the HarperCollins, according to the publisher, arrives under a cloud of controversy and suspicion. Many observers expressed doubts when news broke that the notoriously press-shy author, alive but in frail health in an assisted-living facility in her hometown of Monroeville, Alabama, had approved the publication of the prequel to “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the manuscript for which had been, by varying accounts, hidden, misplaced, or discarded nearly six decades ago. Rumors that the author, who suffered a severe stroke in 2007, had been misused by her publisher, lawyer, and literary agent eventually blossomed into a state investigation into allegations of elder abuse; Alabama closed the case in April after finding no evidence of neglect.
Even those unfamiliar with Lee’s first novel—one of the best-selling books of all time—may have come to know her as a close friend and confidante of Truman Capote’s in the films “Capote” (played by Catherine Keener) and “Infamous” (Sandra Bullock), and the combination of money, mystery, and reluctant, incandescent fame promises to make the release of “Go
Set a Watchman” the literary event of the young century.