Los Angeles, CA- DreamWorks Studios has acquired the #1 New York Times bestselling novel “The Help” by Kathryn Stockett (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam), it was announced today by Holly Bario and Mark Sourian, Co-Presidents of Production at the studio.
The rights to Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 novel were acquired by Tate Taylor, who is also a childhood friend of the author. Taylor wrote the script adaptation and will direct “The Help.” Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus, and Mark Radcliffe of 1492 Pictures will produce, along with Taylor and his producing partner, Brunson Green, of Harbinger Pictures.
Propelled by enthusiastic word-of-mouth from a rapidly expanding fan base, the novel has spent 47 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list to date, and currently sits at #1, as well as becoming one of the most popular selections for book clubs across the U.S. Set against the backdrop of the South in the 1960s, “The Help” explores the unique relationship between Southern women and the housekeepers who care for their homes and their children. Their unspoken code of rules and behavior is shattered when an aspiring writer decides to interview the maids, only to be surprised with their unexpected candor, setting off shock waves that reverberate through their entire community.
“’The Help’ is much more than a book, it has become a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of people everywhere,” said Holly Bario. “Stockett’s novel, and subsequently, Tate Taylor’s script, perfectly depicts the distinctive relationships these women shared with one another. It’s a story that has touched us and one that we look forward to bringing to a wider audience.”
"Kathryn Stockett's ‘The Help’ is a profoundly moving and emotionally complex story,” said Chris Columbus. “It is also extraordinarily cinematic, filled with wonderful characters and conflict. Tate Taylor has taken this material and crafted a terrific screenplay. All of us at 1492 Pictures look forward to working with Tate and DreamWorks, and together, making a film that will touch the hearts of audiences everywhere."
”Kathryn has managed to accomplish the rare feat of taking a deeply, personal story and connecting it to a universal truth about all of us,” said Tate Taylor.
Brunson Green added, “Having a close relationship with Kathryn has been a huge help to Tate and me as we embarked on this incredible project. Tate constantly consulted with Kathryn as he adapted her novel, and it ultimately resulted in a moving screenplay that is faithful to the story and that retains the wonderful spirit of the book.
“I cannot think of a better team than Tate Taylor and Brunson Green to bring ‘The Help’ to the screen,” said author Kathryn Stockett. “It's no coincidence that we three grew up within a one-mile radius of each other in Jackson, Mississippi -- a place where there wasn't much for us to do but write, make movies in our heads, and dream. I know Tate and Brunson will stay true to the story and when you add DreamWorks and 1492 to the project, I am sincerely awed.”
Tate Taylor made his directorial debut with the critically acclaimed short film, “Chicken Party,” which he wrote, directed and starred in 2004. “Chicken Party” went on to win eight festivals and placed at a total of twelve. “Pretty Ugly People” was Taylor’s first feature length film which was released theatrically in the Fall of 2009. Written and directed by Taylor, this dark comedy was shot on location in Montana’s Glacier National Park, Chicago and Los Angeles. It is currently being distributed by Osiris Entertainment. He is also attached to direct the drama, “Road Signs,” which he co-created with writing partner Steven Rogers. Tate was most recently seen in the 2010 Sundance “Grand Jury” Prize winning feature, “Winter’s Bone.”
Over the past 7 years, Mr. Taylor has been partnered with producer, Brunson Green on all his projects. After “Chicken Party” and “Pretty Ugly People,” Tate and Brunson have numerous film and television projects in development including the “The Help.”