You Know Her as Scout. Now, She's Come 'Full Circle'

Six decades later, Mary Badham is playing old neighbor Mrs. Dubose in 'Mockingbird'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 7, 2022 10:55 AM CST
Updated Mar 12, 2022 6:00 AM CST
You Know Her as Scout. She Has a Different Role Now
Mary Badham, as Scout, in the trailer for 'To Kill a Mockingbird.'   (YouTube)

Mary Badham became a child star—an Oscar-nominated one, at that—for her portrayal of young Scout in the film adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird. Now, the New York Times reports that six decades later, she's back in a different Mockingbird production, this time on the stage and in a much different role—that of Scout's elderly, morphine-addicted neighbor, Mrs. Dubose. “I’m going full circle,” says the 69-year-old Badham. “This is something I never contemplated.” Badham didn't act much after her young starring role, and this is her first time on stage. That's also fitting: She hadn't acted at all before being chosen at the age of 9 for the role as Scout by a casting director in her native Alabama.

Rehearsals are currently underway for the play, called Mockingbird, and the national tour of the Broadway show begins next month. The adaptation is written by Aaron Sorkin. One hesitation for Badham is that Mrs. Dubose is racist. “I went to my African American friends, and said, ‘Do I want to walk around in the skin of this awful old lady?’ And they were like, ‘This is important. ... You have to go out there and make her as mean as you can, and show what it was really like.’” In an earlier interview with, Badham talks all about how she ended up getting cast in the film and the fun she had with Gregory Peck making it. One nugget: She admits she never actually read the novel by Harper Lee until years after the film came out, when she had a young daughter herself. (More To Kill A Mockingbird stories.)

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