Whether To Kill A Mockingbird is your favorite book or most challenging high school read, the lessons Harper Lee presented us with will always remain prevalent. Gideon Glick, who was nominated for a 2019 Tony Award for his portrayal of Dill in the Broadway adaptation, believes the story Harper told in 1960, about the ’30s, is as relevant today as it was back then. “I think we live in very challenging political times and I think taking sides is something that’s very, very common and is part of the conversation that we’re having is about you know empathy is so important,” the 30-year-old said of the show in an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife.com. “Yet, there comes a point where you have to take a side and there’s an incredible line in the show where Atticus says, ‘I believe in being respectful,’ and Calpurnia says to him, ‘No matter who you’re disrespecting by doing it’ And I think that kind of sums it all up. These are the times that we live in.”
Gideon’s character Dill, if you recall from the book, is actually a young boy who is based on Harper Lee’s childhood friend Truman Capote. Aaron Sorkin made the decision to have adults play the roles of the children in the Broadway portrayal of To Kill A Mockingbird, an idea that first had Gideon feeling “unsure.” “I think it was a risky device, but what I find so remarkable is that it was a thing that scared us the most, but it was what freed us the most,” he explained. “I think it’s what allows the audience divorce itself from other iterations and kind of accept that this is a theater piece.”
Gideon continued, “Aaron did a really extraordinary job of kind of honoring what we love and hold so dear about the piece but also shifting it on its axis a little bit and asking questions of it that weren’t asked before. It’s inherently modern, which is what this is. It’s a modern piece.” To prepare for the role, Gideon studied the life of Truman Capote, and even visited Monroeville, where he and Harper grew up. “Dill is a bit of a self-mythologizing person, in the same way that Capote was. In the book, they call him a ‘Pocket Merlin,’ which is my favorite descriptive words for me,” he explained. “He loves adventure and he’s truly an optimist, but he’s also created this narrative for himself to mask a deep, deep insecurity and vulnerability and sadness. So, it’s a survival mechanism, and you can see that kind of becoming unhinged in the second act.”
While that may be true, Gideon admits he was incredibly “inspired” by Dill’s “youthful spirit,” and even more so, Capote. “He was so audacious in the way he lived his life. He was really ahead of the curve,” he said. “I have a deep admiration for the way he lived his life.”
The Tony Awards take place on CBS, Sunday, June 9 at 8 PM ET, hosted by James Corden!