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Last Saturday, the Malco Theater in Madison, Mississippi, held an advance public screening of the movie, and all the stars turned out to celebrate. ("The Help" was filmed mostly in Greenwood, but unfortunately the town doesn't have a theater.) Tweets coming from inside the theater involved moviegoers running into Emma Stone, who plays main character Skeeter, in the bathroom and seeing Octavia Spencer, Viola Davis and Allison Janney on the red carpet outside. Director Tate Taylor, producer Brunson Green and author Kathryn Stockett, all natives of Jackson, were also there, along with producer Chris Columbus. The movie played on three screens, and we hear the stars visited each one to welcome the audience and talk about the beneficiary of the event, Baptist Town Community Development in Greenwood. We haven't heard a bad review of the movie yet, and y'all know if must be good if the locals are impressed. There are also plenty of recognizable landmarks in the film, from the State Capitol, Mayflower Cafe, Fondren District and Brent's Drugs in Jackson to the Baptist Church and Elks Lodge in Greenwood. Only a week to go until "The Help" opens nationwide, so make plans to be at your local theater on August

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Southerners and fans of Kathryn Stockett's bestseller "The Help" received exciting news last night when the trailer for the movie version of the book was released. While movie details have sort of been kept hush hush, a release date is scheduled for August 12, and excitement seems to be building. We'll keep y'all updated as more details are released and premiers planned across the South. And in case you missed it a while back, we do have a story about the movie filming in Jackson with lots of photos!

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Deep South Magazine officially launched online in January of 2010, so this month we're celebrating our first anniversary! As we reflect over the past year, we're proud of the content we cranked out, both on our website and on our blog. One of our goals here is to keep up with top news stories that affect people living in the South, and there was no shortage of news in 2010. From the New Orleans Saints winning the Super Bowl to the massive oil spill, 50th anniversary of the publication of "To Kill A Mockingbird" and filming of "The Help" movie in Mississippi, 2010's stories were compelling to say the least, and we spent a lot of time following them. In the case of the oil spill, we immediately created a listing of ways Southerners could help in their respective states and reported straight from the sand in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach throughout the summer to let readers know when beaches were open. We plan to do no less, and hopefully a lot more, in 2011. Here's to another great year for the South and for Deep South! P.S. We welcome story ideas for the coming year! E-mail [email protected] if there's something

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Mississippi’s capital city prepares for its moment on the big screen with “The Help” filming in town last week. by Erin Z. Bass People were talking when native Kathryn Stockett published her bestselling book about white women and their black maids in 1960s Jackson last year, and now the town is abuzz again over filming of the movie version. Producers, including locals Tate Taylor and Brunson Green, came to town last December to scout for locations, but news was kept under wraps until townspeople began to notice changes in the city’s Fondren district last week. “We all knew they were going to film sometime soon,” says Chris Myers, who lives in Fondren and works on North State Street as an architect. “It wasn’t until they started painting the yoga studio, turned into a gas station, that I got really interested.” Myers could view the progress down the street from the breakroom of his office building and began chronicling Fondren’s transformation to a scene from another era (not that big of a stretch as the row of businesses down State Street, called the Fondren Strip, sport neon and a generally retro look anyway). “They started with the gas station and slowly started working down the

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by Erin Z. Bass Last month we reported that author Kathryn Stockett's Southern favorite, The Help, was hitting the big screen. Well, now it's time for Mississippi locals to get their chance too. This Saturday, June 19, moviemakers are holding an open casting call in Greenwood, Mississippi, where filming will begin in mid-July. Men and women of all ages are needed as extras in non-speaking parts, and producers are also looking for 3-year-old identical twin girls to play the part of Mae Mobley. According to the Mississippi Film Office, "Talkative children are great as this is a speaking role and the children will have lines in the film. Twins need to be identical as they will be playing one child." No experience is necessary for any of the roles. A second casting call will also be held in Jackson on June 26. Everyone attending must bring a recent snapshot no larger than 4x6 (not returnable) and a pen. If you can't attend, you can still fill out "The Help Extras" form on the film office's website. To find out more about the movie, read our original story, "Help Hits Big Screen." Casting Call Dates & Locations Saturday, June 19 Leflore County Civic Center 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 200 Hwy. 7

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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

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