Robert Duvall stayed out of the sun for six weeks and dyed his hair blond for the role of Boo Radley who, according to the story, spent much of his life as a recluse. The character of Arthur "Boo" Radley is based in part on Harper Lee's recollection of Alfred "Son" Bouleware, who lived with his parents in a dilapidated, mostly boarded-up house just a few doors away from the Lee home. He was kept secluded in the house by his father, following a vandalism incident in which young Alfred was involved. Described in the book and in the movie as leaving the house only at night because the sun hurt his eyes, this would indicate that Boo Radley was a person of Albinism (lack of pigment in the skin, in the hair, and in the irises of the eyes.)
The character of Dill is purportedly based upon Truman Capote, who had been a childhood friend of Harper Lee when he was sent to live with relatives in Lee's hometown each summer. Truman Capote, in turn, based one of his characters in his literary work "Other Voices, Other Rooms" upon his recollection of Harper Lee.
Atticus Finch is modeled on Harper Lee's own father, Amasa Lee, an attorney whose 1923 defense of a black client inspired the novel's trial. Gregory Peck met with Amasa Lee - then 82 years old - and formed a strong bond with him. Unfortunately Lee died during filming, so his daughter Harper gave Peck his watch and chain. Peck was wearing that same watch and chain at the Academy Awards the following year when he won the Oscar for Best Actor. |