Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Hollywood Ending for Stockett's "The Help"

Another bestselling novel is headed for the silver screen: Kathryn Stockett's The Help.

Hailed by Publishers Weekly as "an optimistic, uplifting debut novel" and made the bold statement that "Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it."

And they were right.

The Help was published in February 2009 as a hardcover by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam and even after more than a year, it's still on the New York Times bestseller list. In fact, this week it's #2 on the list, an amazing feat for a book that's been on the list 50 weeks and counting. At least 1.9 million copies are currently in print.
So, naturally, Hollywood is swooping in to adapt this baby. But this time, it's not a result of a lack of original ideas by the movie biz. This time, it's actually a nice little story of friendship and kept promises.

Yahoo! News shares the dish from the AP wire:
Kathryn Stockett and Tate Taylor have been best friends all their lives. Now they're collaborating on a major motion picture.

DreamWorks Studios recently slated Stockett's firecracker of a first novel, The Help, for production. Taylor will be at the helm of his first major studio film.

Watch out Hollywood.

"Tate is trouble and put it in capital letters," Stockett said. "He is so much fun. We had a ball growing up. We got in so much trouble all the time. I was always getting grounded when Tate was there."


The book tells the story of a group of black domestic maids in 1960s Jackson, Miss., who band together to tell the sometimes sad, sometimes triumphant stories of lives spent toiling for upper class Southern whites. The Help is both uproariously funny and poignant, resonating with readers across the country.

The book seems ready-made for a film and Taylor saw the possibilities early on when Stockett showed him her manuscript. The creator of a well-received short film, "Chicken Party," and 2009's "Pretty Ugly People," he was looking for a larger vehicle to develop, and his best friend had just the material for him.

"She didn't even have a publisher yet and I said, 'You've got to let me option this,'" Taylor said in an interview from New York, where he was having casting interviews. "And she said, 'I'm going to hold you to this. It's going to be so much fun.' And then, of course, she got her agent and I was the last person in the world they wanted."

Taylor had a few things going for him, though, including his relationship withproducer and filmmaker Chris Columbus, who greatly admired "Chicken Party." Columbus, itturns out, is tight with Steven Spielberg, a co-founder of DreamWorks.

Columbus wanted to work with Taylor, but Taylor didn't immediately have a project, he said. Then, "The Help" came along.

Read the entire article HERE
Sweet story, right? :)

I haven't read The Help yet, but it's certainly on my to-read list. Honestly, I originally shied away from it because of the cover--it's boring and feels old--but once it pubbed, all I heard were raves, so I tacked it onto my queue. I've been trying to hold out for the paperback, but at this rate, I might have to cave. The publisher knows it will profit more from hardcover sales so they're keeping the paperback edition on the backburner until January 2011.

As for the movie, I'm already looking forward to it--even without reading the source material. And I immediately cast Jennifer Hudson in my head for the flick--as her role in The Secret Lives of Bees was beyond phenomenal.

Variety also reported talk that Emma Stone of Superbad and Zombieland fame might take on the lead role of Skeeter Phelan. I haven't seen either of those movies so I have no idea of her acting chops but I guess I might just find out.

Tate Taylor is obviously directing.


  1. I really want to read this book!!

  2. I was able to read it right around when it pubbed last year. Amy Einhorn sent it to the office and I immediately wanted to read it (for the cover in fact and the flap copy) but for me the story dragged and I didn't connect with Skeeter as much as I would have liked. That said I think that its a great bookclub pick- lots to discuss. But for me I preferred Saving Ceecee Honeycutt. I loved Ceecee and the madcap Southern characters that lived in that story- very similar themes- but more fun!

  3. Ooooh I heard great things about that book too! I actually just used it at a comp for a title last week :-p

  4. This was SUCH a wonderful read and since I read a lot it's hard for me to pick my favorite book for each year but this is now mine for 2009. It just captured me and I felt sad, happy, excited and scared at all different times during the novel. Would be a great pick for a book club to read.
    Diesel Engines