Tate Taylor: Paul Selvin Award honoree

Selvin Award honoree saw close ties between blacks and whites

Mississippi native Tate Taylor used his experience with the gray areas of relationships between black and white women in the south to color his adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s “The Help.”

“Often subjects like this dealing with that part of the country (are) clear cut — good vs. evil, black vs. white. I really wanted to show the humanistic points of the struggles,” Taylor says.

Taylor, who also directed the pic, is receiving the Selvin Award, for the scribe “whose script best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties which are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere.”

In “The Help,” Taylor highlighted bonds forged among characters despite obstacles created by race and prejudice. That has ignited intense discussions among auds. Taylor says having his film become a conversation starter “is just the greatest thing that could ever happen to an artist.”

Taylor was “co-raised” by a caregiver and his single, working mother. Remembering his mother’s closeness to his caregiver, Taylor was drawn to Minny and Celia’s kinship, which “broke many of the stereotypical ways you see black and whites cohabitate on film.”

That parallel between Celia and Minny’s partnership and the story of his mother and caregiver, he says, “is why it meant a lot to me. It existed and I lived it.”

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Kress & McDuffie | Eric Roth | Tate Taylor | Patric Verrone | Zwick & Herskovitz