The 84th Annual Academy Awards are on Sunday, and since six out of nine of the Best Picture nominees are based on books . . . I thought we'd do a little book-to-film celebrating!
Keep scrolling for trailers of all nine Best Picture nominees, along with corresponding book tie-in information (when applicable). Which movie are you pulling for? What movie-based-on-a-book got snubbed? (Ahem, We Need to Talk About Kevin.)
Baesd on The Descendants by Kaui Hart Hemmings
EXTREMELY LOUD & INCREDIBLY CLOSE
Based on Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Based on The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Based on The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS
THE TREE OF LIFE
Based on War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
This post needs little introduction—in fact, you've probably already skipped this sentence and hit "play" to watch the trailer for the movie version of Kathryn Stockett's The Help:
Here are my initial thoughts:
1) It's more upbeat than I expected. Although The Help is moving and uplifting, it is also really sad at parts. (Granted, this is only a 2.5 minute trailer.)
2) Where is Celia Foote?!
What are your thoughts?
This week, IMDb released nine images from the set of The Help, which hits theaters August 12, 2011.
Kathryn Stockett's The Help was BookPage readers' favorite book of 2009. If you haven't read it and you need another reason to pick up the novel, how's this for an anecdote: I read it last November (in one day) and mailed it to my mom so she could have it over the long Thanksgiving weekend. She read it and loved it, then gave it to my aunt who promptly e-mailed: "I love the book, The Help. I don't want it to end. Do you have another suggestion for reading?"
I'll let the photos do the talking:
View the rest of the stills at IMDb. Is that how you envisioned Aibileen and Minny? Do you think Emma Stone can pull off Skeeter? (You know, I was skeptical at first, but now I believe it. Even Kathryn Stockett approves. She said in an interview with People magazine: "The minute I met [Stone], I knew I couldn't see whatever Skeeter looked in my head as a blonde because she was replaced by Emma . . . She was so clearly that person. And her mom is from Baton Rouge, so she's got the accent.")
Photo from DreamWorks Studios via IMDb.
Here's another update for Kathryn Stockett fans. (I keep thinking The Help may have lost some momentum—but then someone new will recommend it to me, not knowing that I've read it, or beg for a book suggestion because they just finished The Help and they loved it. No wonder Penguin's holding the paperback release until January 4, 2011. . . nearly two years after the hardcover's publication.)
Anyway, the news is that Octavia Spencer has been cast as Minny Jackson, Aibileen’s feisty best friend and Celia Foote's maid. According to Entertainment Weekly, Stockett and Spencer have known each other for "close to a decade" and the actress "served as the inspiration for the outspoken character." (She's also Minny's voice on the audio version of The Help.) Spencer has appeared in a number of movies and TV shows, but she's probably best known for her role as Constance Grady in "Ugly Betty."
I am sorry to say that none of our commenters correctly guessed the cast of Rebecca Stockett's The Help in my "Casting Call" blog post from a couple months ago.
Filming starts this summer in Mississippi (mostly in Greenwood, although a few scenes will be shot in Jackson). Emma Stone will play Skeeter and Viola Davis will play Aibileen. Stone was Jules in Superbad, and Davis is best known for her fierce (and Oscar-nominated) role as Donald Miller's mother in Doubt. According to IMDb, Bryce Dallas Howard—Victoria in this summer's Eclipse—is rumored to play Hilly.
Are you happy with these casting choices?
In recent weeks there have been tidbits of information about the movie version of Kathryn Stockett’s The Help—the BookPage reader favorite book of 2009. Stockett herself mentioned the movie in an interview with Katie Couric, and yesterday the Huffington Post gave some background information on director Tate Taylor, who optioned the story before the book was even published, and has been friends with Stockett since they were five:
"She didn't even have a publisher yet and I said, 'You've got to let me option this,'" Taylor said in an interview from New York, where he was having casting interviews. "And she said, 'I'm going to hold you to this. It's going to be so much fun.' And then, of course, she got her agent and I was the last person in the world they wanted."
On The Root, media and culture critic Natalie Hopkinson is skeptical of a Hollywood adaptation, writing that she doesn’t have “particularly high hopes for what will happen to this sweet book when Hollywood gets its grubby hands on it. If the recent piece in People magazine speculating on who the cast would be is any indication, we need to brace ourselves.”
What are your thoughts on casting for The Help?
We’ve noticed that books (with the exception of political books) get little coverage on network TV, so we were happy to see that Katie Couric covers many authors on her web show @katiecouric.
Just Tuesday, her conversation with Kathryn Stockett, best-selling author of The Help, was posted. During the hour-long interview, Stockett also took questions from book clubs in Ohio and Washington D.C. via Skype, and in a separate segment (without Stockett) Couric interviewed three women from Jackson, Mississippi—the setting of the novel.
If you loved The Help—and I know many of you do, since it was the #1 book in our Best Books of 2009 reader survey—then you’ll be interested to hear about Stockett’s relationship with Demetrie, her own family’s help, and why the author wanted to tell this story.
Watch the interview here:
I was especially excited to hear Stockett mention the movie version of The Help—news to me. A quick online search shows that Tate Taylor (Pretty Ugly People) will direct. According to Variety, “Taylor grew up with Stockett in Mississippi—his mother inspired one of the Mississippi matriarchs in the novel—and was so helpful to the author that she gave him an early peek; an option was made well before the book came out.”
On the @katiecouric website, find interviews with Sapphire, the author of Push (the movie-version, Precious, is nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture); Malcolm Gladwell; and other authors.
What authors would you like to see Couric interview? Did you learn anything surprising in the Stockett segment?
By the way, in my Stockett research for this post, I learned on the PenguinUK website that the author is at work on a second novel: “It also takes place in Mississippi, during the 1930’s and the Great Depression. It’s about a family of women who learn to get around the rules, rules created by men, in order to survive.” I can’t wait for this one! What about you?
Related in BookPage: Read our interview with Kathryn Stockett about The Help.