Spielberg's Voicemail

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Stacey Snider recalls her partner's rave phone call when he read "The Help."

Dreamworks CEO Stcey Snider was approached about The Help when it was still in galleys and she was setting up financing for her company through Reliance Entertainment. She recalls taking the plunge.

THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER: How did you get involved with The Help?

Stacey Snider: I read the manuscript and tried to get the rights, but Tate Taylor had already optioned them. At the time, we were just getting going at DreamWorks and there wasn't a screenplay, but [then] Tate wrote a great adaptation that kind of haunted me.

THR: Did you discuss it with Steven Spielberg?

Snider: We do that on everything. I sent him the script after I read it, and he called and left a message on my phone. I was at a soccer game with my daughter and it was freezing and I missed the call and he was on a plane going to London to see War Horse -- and his message literally was five minutes on how much he loved the script, and run don't walk! I remember being freezing and walking around and listening to this five times!

THR: How did Participant Media become involved?

Snider: They had been running after the [project], too -- many people kicked the tires. They didn't have the appetite to make the movie entirely but said, "We'd like to come in." And so they gave one-third of the budget.

THR: Will you do more African-American-themed films?

Snider: We're doing a feature now about Martin Luther King Jr. that's a co-venture with Warner Bros. We have the rights to his writings, which were copyrighted, and his life rights through the estate.

THR: And what about working again with Tate?

Snider: We have one project, an adaptation of the book Peace Like a River by Leif Enger with [Brad Pitt's] Plan B, set in the Badlands of North Dakota in the 1960s, about a man whose eldest son breaks out of jail and [he tries to reach him before the FBI does]. It has a tense manhunt element and this story of how the family endures a crisis. But Tate is the real deal.