DreamWorks nabs rights to novel 'The Help'

Tate Taylor to direct his adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's book

DreamWorks Studios has acquired film rights to Kathryn Stockett's best-selling novel "The Help."

Tate Taylor, who is a childhood friend of Stockett's, adapted the novel into a screenplay after acquiring the rights. He also will direct the film.

Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus and Mark Radcliffe of 1492 Pictures will produce, along with Taylor and his producing partner, Brunson Green, of Harbinger Pictures.

A book-club favorite published by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam last year, "The Help" explores the complicated relationships between the matrons of the South in 1962 and the maids and housekeepers who take care of their kids and homes.

"'The Help' is much more than a book; it has become a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of people everywhere," DreamWorks co-president of production Holly Bario said. "Stockett's novel and, subsequently, Tate Taylor's script, perfectly depicts the distinctive relationships these women shared with one another. It's a story that has touched us and one that we look forward to bringing to a wider audience."

Added Stockett: "I cannot think of a better team than Tate Taylor and Brunson Green to bring 'The Help' to the screen. It's no coincidence that we three grew up within a one-mile radius of each other in Jackson, Miss. -- a place where there wasn't much for us to do but write, make movies in our heads and dream. I know Tate and Brunson will stay true to the story, and when you add DreamWorks and 1492 to the project, I am sincerely awed."

Repped by WME and Artists and Directors Cooperative, Taylor wrote and directed "Pretty Ugly People" in 2009. An actor as well ("Winter's Bone"), Taylor also is attached to direct the drama "Road Signs," which he co-created with writing partner Steven Rogers.

1492 most recently produced the Fox film "Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief," which has grossed $167 million worldwide.