How Richard Thomas aims to redefine Atticus as ‘Mockingbird’ comes to L.A.
Richard Thomas, who produced the original 1973 Atticus piece, has come home.
At the close of last weekend’s L.A. premiere of “The Mockingbird,” the first episode of a new season of the ABC series (which began Friday), L.A.-based actor Thomas took a moment to pay a heartfelt tribute to the original Atticus Finch, whom he considers his mentor.
“He took a lot of criticism in his lifetime, and it’s good that people realize that he wasn’t the nicest guy ever,” Thomas said, “but he was a decent human being and a lot of us are decent human beings.”
It was Thomas’s production of the 1973 episode that earned him the opportunity to become a breakout star in the U.S. TV landscape.
The show had only recently premiered on ABC, with a total eight episodes that were shot in only six weeks. ABC executives feared that the series, a fictionalized biopic of the 1960s and ‘70s civil rights activist, would flop, but the show quickly became one of the most popular programs on the tube and the network even extended an invitation to Thomas to guest star on the show, which happened to coincide with the television debut of his own second TV series, which lasted for more than 3 ½ years.
“The Mockingbird” is the first regular TV series in seven years to be produced in a single location in Los Angeles by an actor, rather than a television studio.
On Wednesday, Thomas will film in the offices of ABC Studios in Burbank, which he said has more of a “working environment” than a “studio” environment. Thomas will be joined on the set by a dozen or so production extras, including many actors and extras from the first “Mockingbird,” not to mention the show�