Studio picks up rights to Kathryn Stockett's book

DreamWorks Studios has picked up the film rights to Kathryn Stockett’s best selling tome “The Help,” about the conflicted and complex relationships between Southern women and their housekeepers at the beginning of the civil rights movement.

Tate Taylor, a childhood friend of the author, will direct from his adapted script. He had acquired the film rights to the novel from Stockett.

Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe will produce via their shingle 1492 Pictures. Taylor also will produce with his partner at Harbinger Pictures, Brunson Green.

Deal was announced by DreamWorks co-production prexies Holly Bario and Mark Sourian.

“The Help” has spent 47 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list, where it is currently No. 1.

Set in Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s, story explores how the unspoken code of behavior governing Southern households is shattered when an aspiring writer interviews a maid, who speaks candidly about her experiences. The interview sets off shock waves that reverberate across the 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.”

Columbus added that the story is “a profoundly moving and emotionally complex story.”

Taylor’s first feature film was the 2009 “Pretty Ugly People.” He’s attached to direct the “Road Signs,” which he co-created with writing partner Steven Rogers. Tate most recently starred in 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Winter’s Bone.”

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