Actress to star in adaptation of the best-selling novel

Viola Davis is in talks to star in DreamWorks Studios’ bigscreen adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel “The Help.”

Story, set in Jackson, Miss., in the early 1960s, 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.

Davis would play the role of Aibileen, the maid. Emma Stone is eyeing the part of the writer.

Tate Taylor, a childhood friend of Stockett’s, will direct from hisadapted script.

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

Davis, a stage and screen actress, is in previews on Broadway in the Scott Rudin-produced revival of August Wilson’s “Fences,” starring opposite Denzel Washington.

She’s next in theaters on Aug. 13 in Julia Roberts topliner “Eat Pray Love,” from Sony.

She also plays a supporting role in Focus Features’ “It’s Kind of a Funny Story,” set to open in November.

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