Help Hits Big Screen
by Erin Z. Bass
Kathryn Stockett’s Southern book club favorite The Help will begin filming in Greenwood, Mississippi, this July. Dreamworks announced the news today, and Mississippi’s Clarion Ledger reports that the film is also being directed and produced by Mississippi natives. The filming is expected to create numerous jobs and an economic impact in the millions for the state. The Mississippi Motion Picture Incentive program was a major factor in getting The Help made in the state.
Associated Content helps to further explain the Mississippi connections, reporting that Stockett, director Tate Taylor and producing partner Brunson Green all grew up within a mile of each other in Jackson. Taylor wanted to option the film rights to the book before it was even published, hence the short turnaround time. After the book’s instant success last year, he took it to director Chris Columbus, who in turn took it to Steven Spielberg at Dreamworks.
If you or your book club hasn’t read “The Help,” we’ll try not to automatically assume you’re a Yankee, but you’ve still got a little time to get over to the public library or town bookstore and pick up a copy before the movie comes out. The book’s group of white Junior League characters contrasted with their black housekeepers will have you staying up late into the night to find out what happens when racial and class lines start to blur in 1960s Jackson.
In March, People magazine speculated about casting for “The Help” and picked Anne Hathaway as Hilly, Oprah as Aibileen, Mo’Nique as Minny and Claire Danes as Skeeter in its “dream cast.” They quoted a representative from Dreamworks saying, “The casting process is going to be the most fun part about this. This is a total tour de force for women.”
Update: The cast has been announced as including Emma Stone, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard and Octavia Spencer.
The Help Events
According to Kathryn Stockett’s website, she’ll be making appearances and signing books throughout the summer. See her in the South:
May 20 at 7 p.m.
Barnes & Noble (Buckhead)
September 21 at 8 p.m.
DC Area Fall for the Book Festival