Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling novel The Help is set to appear on the big screen in 2011. Acording to The Huffington Post, the movie started filming in July 2010. Although some filming for the movie will be done in Jackson, Mississippi where the story takes place, the majority will be filmed in the smaller community of Greenwood, in “the impoverished Delta region known for blues music and cotton fields,” which apparently appealed to producers.
Set in 1960s Mississippi during the racially-charged tension of the Civil Rights Movement, “The Help” is the story of a young white woman Skeeter Phelan, who is shocked and saddened by the sudden removal of Constantine Jefferson, the black maid who raised her, from her family’s home. In searching for information on Constantine, Skeeter decides to interview the black women of the community who for generations have cared for the homes and children of the white families of Jackson.
Portraying the story’s lead characters are several prominent female actors:
Emma Stone as Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan
Known for her recent hit movies “Zombieland” and “Easy A,” Emma Stone is cast in the lead role of recent college graduate and aspiring writer, Skeeter Phelan. Stone is riding a wave of popularity, appearing in several upcoming movies set for release in 2011, such as “Friends With Benefits” starring Justin Timberlake. And she is rumored to be involved in the future “Spider Man” reboot and “21 Jump Street” movie projects.
Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook
Skeeter’s friend and antagonist, the viciously proper and unapologetically snobbish southern girl Hilly Holbrook, is portrayed by Bryce Dallas Howard. Daughter to actor and director Ron Howard, Bryce Dallas Howard is the star of the M. Night Shyamalan movies “The Village” and “Lady in the Water.” She most recently replaced Rachelle Lefevre as vampire villain Victoria in the third Twilight Saga movie, “Eclipse.”
Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark
Aibileen Clark, a caring, intelligent woman, a friend of Constantine’s, and the first woman to agree to be interviewed by Skeeter, is played by Viola Davis. Davis has a notable career in TV, movies, and theater, appearing most recently in “Eat, Pray, Love” and the TV series “United State of Tara” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.” She also won a Tony Award for Best Actress in 2001 for her role in August Wilson’s “King Hedley II.”
Jessica Chastain as Celia Foote
Relative newcomer Jessica Chastain takes the role of another oppressed character, Celia Foote, a white girl from the wrong neighborhood who will never be accepted by the Jackson community. A graduate of the Juilliard School of Drama, Chastain has appeared in movies, TV, and theater, recently in the 2006 TV movie “Blackbeard” and in the TV series “Law & Order: Trial by Jury.”
Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson
Another fresh face, Octavia Spencer, plays Minny Jackson, the spirited, outspoken maid who can’t quite control her temper, but has ample amounts of courage to agree to contribute to Aibileen’s and Skeeter’s project-and to work in secret for Celia Foote. Tate Taylor, director of “The Help,” also cast Spencer in his 2008 movie “Pretty Ugly People.” Spencer most recently appeared in the movie “Dinner for Schmucks” starring Steve Carell and in the short-lived Steven Bochco TV series “Raising the Bar” on TNT.
Cicely Tyson as Constantine Jefferson
Winner of two Emmy Awards (for her portrayal of a former slave in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”) as well as an Academy Award (for Best Actress in 1972’s “Sounder”), acclaimed TV and movie actress Cecily Tyson appears as Constantine Jefferson, Skeeter’s beloved mother-figure and the impetus for Skeeter’s exposure of the injustice against the black women of Jackson. The role is a relatively small one, but crucial to the story. Skeeter’s search for what happened to Constantine is the motivation that drives her action, and the mystery which moves the plot of the story.
More About ‘The Help’ at Associated Content:
‘The Help’ Movie
‘The Help’ by Kathryn Stockett: Best of the New York Times Bestsellers List
Byrd, Sheila. “‘The Help’ Movie To Start Filming This Summer In Mississippi” The Huffington Post.
IMDB.com, The Help (2011)