11:26am PT by Jethro Nededog
President Barack Obama to Introduce USA Network's Airing of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'
President Barack Obama will provide a special introduction to USA Network’s airing of the 1962 film adaptation of Harper Lee’s novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, at 8 p.m. April 7.
“I’m deeply honored that President Obama will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird by introducing it to a national audience,” says Lee, the famously media-shy Pulitzer Prize winner. “I believe it remains the best translation of a book to film ever made, and I'm proud to know that Gregory Peck's portrayal of Atticus Finch lives on — in a world that needs him now more than ever.”
Peck stars as a lawyer in a small Alabama town who takes the tough case of a black man accused of raping a white woman. Told from the point of view of the attorney's young daughter, the novel is heralded as one of the first to portray America’s race issues frankly and remains on many schools’ mandatory reading lists.
The film was nominated for eight Oscars and won three: best actor, adapted screenplay and art direction.
It will air in partnership with the American Film Institute and Universal Pictures, which included To Kill a Mockingbird in its commitment to restoring classic motion pictures. The film is was released for the first time on Blu-ray Disc in January.
The movie and Obama's participation seems particularly timely as the country reels from controversy surrounding the shooting death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.
Watch a trailer for To Kill a Mockingbird below.