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Kathryn Stockett's novel The Help has been optioned by 1492 Productions, the company owned in part by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone helmer Chris Columbus. Tate Taylor, an actor who has had small roles in film and television productions for the past decade, has already adapted the book into a screenplay and will direct the movie. Don't worry about if he can do it; he's also written the scripts for and directed two indies.
How this deal went down with Columbus was because of Taylor's personal connect to the author. It turns out that Taylor and Stockett both grew up together in Mississippi; in fact, the actor's mother served as inspiration for one of the characters in the novel. When Stockett got close to getting ready to take out her book she let Taylor take an early peek at it. Taylor then showed the book to Columbus, who he knew through a family connection. When Putnum published The Help this past February it rose on the New York Times bestseller list. As other film companies came calling on Stockett for the screen rights, they found out that 1492 had already sewen them up.
The Help is set in the early 1960s Mississippi and centers on a newly graduated college writer who sets out to chronicle the stories of her small town's black women and the level of trust they had with their white employers to raise the latter's children. The book highlights a different, less obvious form of racism and sexism that was prevalent during that time.
One of the possible ways that 1492 could turn The Help into a movie is by getting the funding from Reliance Big Entertainment, the flush-with-cash Indian company. Variety notes that Reliance has already taken an interest in possibly helping The Help start filming as soon as next spring.
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