DreamWorks gets 'Help'
DreamWorks announced this afternoon that it would be turning the big 2009 summer read "The Help" into a film.
Kathryn Stockett's New York Times bestseller is a triptych that tells of the relationship between black housekeepers and their white employers in 1960s Mississippi (two of the central characters are housekeepers and a third is a young white woman who returns home after college to find her childhood housekeeper has left). A childhood friend of the author, Tate Taylor (also a star of Sundance hit "Winter's Bone") initially acquired the rights, wrote the screenplay and will direct, while Chris Columbus is one of several producers on the film.
Hollywood has a long history of taking the racially charged South and mining it for compelling drama, from "Gone With the Wind" to "Mississippi Burning" to "The Color Purple." Some more contemporary stabs such as "Beloved" were mixed, but with "The Blind Side" becoming one of the biggest sleeper hits of 2009, you pretty much can't go wrong in Hollywood these days pitching a story situated in that general realm.
-- Steven Zeitchik