Who would you cast for The Help?

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The helpukI was so excited to hear that Kathryn Stockett's The Help is being made into a film, as we speak! Apparently it is the most excitement Mississippi has seen in a long time.

Last Spring I suggested that my book club read The Help, and everyone really liked it. The group is usually split, but the general consensus was that it was a good read and it sparked a whole evening of interesting conversation (sometimes we only spend a half hour on the book and then go on to more meaty subjects such as school gossip).

The Help takes place in Mississippi in the 60's and is about the relationship between women and the almost exclusively black maids that cleaned their homes and helped to raise their children.

Thehelpus It's been on the best seller list in the US for quite a while, but is just becoming noticed here (that's how I got my book club interested in it, they wanted something up and coming). The UK cover of the book is different than the one in the States, apparently the two black women in maid uniform pushing a white baby in a pram was deemed too controversial for a still racially divided US.

The book sparked conversation about having help in the US and how it might differ, or be the same, in the UK, now and in the 60s. We talked about how for the British middle classes, after World War II, there was a trend of no help in your home, while in the US it was on the rise. We talked about how domestic help is treated and paid in the UK (usually above board). In California, where Mexican immigrants make up the nanny circuit, that is not always the case. All interesting topics, and close to the hearts of many mothers.

For those that know the characters: Emma Stone will play heroine Skeeter, Viola Davis will play Abileen, Bryce Dallas Howard is cast as Hilly, the snooty President of the local Junior League, Octavia Spencer is headstrong Minnie, and Jessica Chastain is cast as Celia, the social climber.

Participant Media and Imagenation Abu Dhabi are co-producing the movie with DreamWorks. Disney's Touchstone Pictures will distribute. Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan are producing.

Have you read The Help? Who would make up your perfect cast?

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  1. Insomniac Mummy
    14/10/2010 / 08:13

    Late to the party here but just bought this last week. Really looking forward to reading it now.
    I’m actually shocked that the cover was changed in the US because if racial division. Such a shame.

  2. Janet
    04/10/2010 / 21:41

    We just finished this one with our book group last month. I think most people really liked it. I loved it, and kept imagining I could speak with that wonderful Missisippi accent. And then I’d read aloud for about 3 seconds before obviously realising it was all in my head and I could no more do a Southern accent that the man on the moon – what an eejit. But I did love the book and kind of miss all the characters now I’ve finished it.

  3. 24/09/2010 / 00:20

    Just read this book for book group last month. Loved it!!

  4. 21/09/2010 / 14:46

    I’ve not read this book – will give it a go, sounds fab. Although I didn’t like The Color Purple, is it anything like? x

  5. Susanna
    21/09/2010 / 12:51

    The US one is a bit bland … the three birds…

  6. A Modern Mother
    21/09/2010 / 10:59

    how about Hugh Grant for Skeeter’s boyfriend???

  7. 21/09/2010 / 09:48

    I really enjoyed this book….so thought provoking. I would love to see it made into a film. I can’t believe that about the covers of the books…..how ridiculous is that!

  8. A Modern Mother
    21/09/2010 / 09:40

    And maybe Uma Thurman for Minny’s “white trash” new employer??? (what’s her name, having a block here)

  9. A Modern Mother
    21/09/2010 / 09:28

    Now I can’t get Nicole Kidman out of my mind. Hmmm, I was thinking more of someone like Demi Moore…

  10. Iota
    21/09/2010 / 03:03

    Funnily enough, I had someone who looked like Nicole Kidman in my mind’s eye whenever I was reading Skeeter’s parts in the book.

  11. A Modern Mother
    20/09/2010 / 21:06

    I’m so glad y’all have read The Help — I knew this group would be ahead of the curve.

  12. A Modern Mother
    20/09/2010 / 21:05

    Impressed your husband read it, mine saw the cover and thought it was another parenting book

  13. A Modern Mother
    20/09/2010 / 21:03

    Yes, I can picture that

  14. 20/09/2010 / 20:36

    I’ve just finished this book and loved it. I was hoping it would be made into a film. I don’t know who any of the actors are who you mention and funnily enough I had been thinking who could be cast in each role. It made me realise there are very few well known black actresses. A younger Nicole Kidman would make a good Miss Skeeter I think. Sophie Okonedo as Minnie. I’m not sure about Aibeleen, maybe Oprah? I’m hopeless at this. Can’t wait to see the film though.

  15. nappyvalleygirl
    20/09/2010 / 17:25

    Fantastic book – I urged my husband to read it too, and he has really enjoyed it.
    Don’t know any of the actors except Viola Davis who was brilliant in ‘Doubt’. Will be interesting to see how they play it.

  16. A Modern Mother
    20/09/2010 / 15:37

    There are a lot of “under the table” payments, and many a politician has been ruined by not paying taxes on their wages.

  17. A Modern Mother
    20/09/2010 / 15:35

    Yes, I read about that. A friend of mine from Texas was put off by the dialogue as well. Films never do the book justice, but I’m always curious on a version you can see. Fingers crossed.

  18. Iota
    20/09/2010 / 14:08

    I didn’t quite understand something in your post. Is Mexican help in the home not PAID in California? How does that work?

  19. Iota
    20/09/2010 / 14:06

    I loved that book. Couldn’t put it down. I loved the message that writing can change society – and particularly the way that it was both a white woman and a black woman who used writing to do so.
    Cast list? I’m hopeless on that kind of question, so I’ll pass.

  20. 20/09/2010 / 12:54

    We’ve just read The Help in our book group and loved it. Someone suggested Oprah Winfrey for Minnie. I’m not sure about that one.
    I’ll give it some thought.

  21. 20/09/2010 / 12:52

    Hi Susanna
    Absolutely loved this book, tho my book club split down the middle on it, as did my colleagues at the American publication where I work. I think some people find it irritating b/c it wasn’t written by an African American woman and others found the dialect to be grating. In short, there may be an authenticity problem.(FWIW: my husband, who was raised in the South by an African American nanny thought the dialogue was spot on.) Me? I couldn’t put it down. I do fear that the film won’t do it justice, though, as is so often the case. Here’s hoping I’m wrong…
    Delia Lloyd

  22. 20/09/2010 / 12:48

    In ‘fantasy Help’ Katherine Hepburn for Skeeter.
    That’s a lot for Emma Stone to live up to.