BY NANCY R. MANDELL
In the mood for a good read? Then put down the book and line up for the film version of “The Help,” Katherine Stockett’s best-selling novel about domestic relations in the pre-Civil Rights South.
Whenever a best-seller becomes a movie, the same quandary arises: If you haven’t read the book, you wonder if you should before you see the film. And if you have read it, you’re probably criticizing the virtually all-female cast in advance.
Fortunately for “The Help,” which opens in wide release today (Aug.10), no such problems should crop up. First-time author Stockett and Tate Taylor—executive producer, director, and screenwriter—were childhood friends in Jackson, Miss. where the novel is set, and shared the angst of Stockett’s publishing efforts. Reportedly, Taylor read the manuscript even while it was being rejected by more than 60 literary agents and told Stockett not to give up. With just one short and one feature to his credit, he assured her that, “If it doesn’t get published, I’ll make it into a movie.”