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The Help needs your help

June 10, 2010
Author Kathryn Stockett and actress Octavia Spencer on their book tour last summer for The Help. The two held a reading at Off Square Books.
The new Mississippi film, The Help, needs your help.
A popular novel from author Kathryn Stockett, which has been adapted by Ole Miss graduate Tate Taylor into a feature film will begin filming this July through October in Greenwood, with some filming in Clarksdale and Jackson. In what is set to be the largest Hollywood production the state has seen in years, the film is now casting for extras and also looking for automobiles pre-1963.
The film is set in the early 1962 following Skeeter’s graduation from Ole Miss. She returns home to Jackson to discover that her beloved maid Constantine has disappeared. Skeeter soon meets Aibileen and Minny, two maids with very different personalities that soon join with Skeeter on a project that risks all their lives.
The book and the script is about women with strong voices for civil rights in a time when it was not wise to speak loudly and how their lives are changed. There are a variety of extra types needed from scenes of wealthy Jackson to a destitute area of town where Aibileen and Minny live their lives.
If interested in getting involved as an extra, an application can be submitted via e-mail to the Mississippi Film Office. The application asks for personal details and a color photo. Forms are available at the website under “MS Production News.”
An open casting call for extras and some speaking roles will be held in Greenwood on June 19 at the Leflore County Civic Center from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Actors do not need experience but must bring a recent snapshot no larger than 4 inches by 6 inches and a pen. If a photo is not brought to the audition, the actor will not be considered.
Casting calls are scheduled to be announced later this month in Jackson as well. No information has been posted yet about what type of crew the production will be hiring.
The movie will star Emma Stone as Skeeter (Natalie in the “House Bunny”), Viola Davis as Aibileen (“Madea Goes to Jail”) and Octavia Spencer as Minny (“Pretty Ugly People,” “Ugly Betty”) who first met the director when the two worked on John Grisham’s “A Time To Kill” which filmed in Mississippi in the mid-90s. The two have been friends, along with the author Stockett and producer Brunson Green for years and the film is a homecoming for all who began their careers in the state.
Bryce Dallas Howard (“Twilight,” “Lady in the Water”) and Chris Lowell ( “Private Practice,” “Up in the Air”) are rumored to be in negotiations still. Stephen Goldblatt (“Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief”) will be the cinematographer for the film
Christopher Columbus and Dreamworks are also producing.
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