arts & entertainment
CC: ;e Help seems like a
uniquely American story, but it
TT: What it comes
down to is relationships and
courage and integrity and
speaking up. ;ose are universal themes. ;at stu; transcends being purely American.
We’re going to Arab countries,
where the book has been really embraced.
People are speaking up, or dream about it,
everywhere around the world. What’s great
about ;e Help is, it’s not leaders or people in
power doing the speaking; it’s regular women
standing up for what’s right. I think
that’s inspiring to people, no matter
where they live.
didn’t know we really had something going
until we were driving around Mississippi
together, Kathryn and me, and her publisher
called and said, “Your book’s debuting [in] the
top 25 on [the] New York Times best-seller
list.” We did what any Southerners would do:
We pulled o; to the nearest truck stop and
bought a six-pack. We sat in the car ... and I
think it ;nally dawned on us, we might have
more than an indie movie on our hands here.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 41
I’m an overnight success that
took 17 years, and I did it without a single robot in my movie.
CC: How did you approach adapting the
novel for the big screen?
TT: I had nobody, no money, no input, no
deadlines, no pressure when I started adapting Kathryn’s book. It was just me and my
instincts working at a leisurely pace. I wrote
that first screenplay long; it was over 200
pages long, and it was pretty much every
scene in the novel. I did it for the love of
the material. I knew I needed to drop 80 or 90
pages, so I started looking at it scene by scene
and asking, “What makes this scene so special?” Sometimes it was only a look or a glance,
sometimes a joke, sometimes a location. So
I started cherry-picking those jewels and relocating those tiny treasures into scenes that
had to be there to move the story along.
Minnie (left) and Aibileen
speak in secrecy with Skeeter
about their experiences
working for white families.
Kraft Philadelphia Recipe Collection and
Crock-Pot Recipe Collection, from Publications International Ltd. I love to cook. These
five-ring binder cookbooks are easy to use
and have more than 500 recipes each. They
lie flat and have tabs to help you navigate the
cookbook. Both include photos of the final
dishes and cover everything from appetizers
to desserts—and all courses in between.
—Josh Lilly, inventory control specialist, books
CC: Were you the ;rst choice to direct?
TT: People loved Kathryn’s book and they
loved my script, so I had a studio, DreamWorks,
and a producer, Chris Columbus, who stood
behind me. Still, this kind of movie doesn’t
look good on paper—it’s a period piece about
race relations with an all-female cast and
a nobody who’s writing and directing it. ;is
is a losing proposition by the numbers. I
still believe everyone at
the studio took a shot
of tequila the day they
wired our budget to
that Mississippi bank.
CC: ;e Help is a di;erent role for you.
ES: De;nitely, but I was surrounded by
people on this movie who love—love—life
and love to laugh. Very easily a story like ;e
Help can veer into super-seriousness or sadness or heaviness. I mean, I’ve had some really
[terrible] days in my life, but there’s never been
a single one where I haven’t also laughed. Tate
is a director who recognizes that.
Micro, by Michael Crichton. For decades,
Crichton’s novels have piqued readers’ imaginations and challenged the limits of reality. In
Micro, Crichton explores the realm of nanotechnology as four graduate students—with
only their scientific knowledge and wits to
protect them—are cast into the hostile conditions of a rain forest. As always, Crichton
blurs the line between sci-fi and reality in a
inventory control specialist, books
The Help book, DVD and Blu-ray Disc are
available in most Costco locations.
CC: One of the powerful messages of ;e
Help is how storytelling can be liberating.
ES: Yeah, totally! Stories are healing.
;e reason we all fall in love with art, the
reason it exists, is because everyone has
a story and a purpose and something to
share. Everyone should share their stories in
some way—write a story, paint a picture,
sing a song. Whatever’s closest to your heart,
do that. ;e Help is good proof that stories
Red Mist, by Patricia Cornwell. In the 19th
Kay Scarpetta novel, the forensic expert is in
Georgia investigating the death of her murdered deputy chief, Jack Fielding. A visit to
the Georgia Prison for Women yields information from a well-informed inmate that will
shed light on this and seemingly unrelated
murders across the country. If you have never
read Cornwell, but are a fan of the TV series
CSI, this will likely be right up your alley.
inventory control specialist, books
J. Rentilly is a Los Angeles–based writer.
DECEMBER 2011 ;e Costco Connection 43