The 2011 movie, The Help was a hit with audiences and got awards. But years later, the conversation around it has changed. Bryce Dallas Howard recently suggested people watch other movies during the Black Lives Matter protests. Find out why she wouldn’t play Hilly Holbrook today and more.
Viola Davis regrets doing ‘The Help’
Viola Davis was nominated for an Oscar for best performance by an actress in a leading role. It was her second nomination and a big boost to her career.
However, she looks at the role differently now. She revealed this after she was asked if she regrets passing up any roles.
“Almost a better question is, have I ever done roles that I’ve regretted? I have, and The Help is on that list,” Davis told The New York Times. “But not in terms of the experience and the people involved because they were all great.”
She later explained, “I just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard. I know Aibileen. I know Minny [played by Octavia Spencer, who won a best-supporting-actress Oscar]. They’re my grandma. They’re my mom. And I know that if you do a movie where the whole premise is, I want to know what it feels like to work for white people and to bring up children in 1963, I want to hear how you really feel about it. I never heard that in the course of the movie.”
Bryce Dallas Howard said people could ‘go further’ when the movie was trending
The Help was trending during the Black Lives Matter protests. Many people were talking about the movie then on social media.
Howard responded to fans watching it on Instagram. “The Help is a fictional story told through the perspective of a white character and was created by predominantly white storytellers,” she said according to Vanity Fair. “We can all go further.”
The actor said she’s “grateful” for the friendships she made while working on the film. However, she suggested people watch 13th, I Am Not Your Negro, and Just Mercy.
Howard also explained why movies are important. “Stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action,” she said. “If you are seeking ways to learn about the Civil Rights Movement, lynchings, segregation, Jim Crow, and all the ways in which those have an impact on us today, here are a handful of powerful, essential, masterful films and shows that center Black lives, stories, creators, and / or performers.”
Howard says she wouldn’t play the role today
Howard talked about The Help with Los Angeles Times and was asked if she would take her role if it was offered today.
“No,” she answered. “But what I will say is: What I’ve seen is that folks have the courage to say that. ‘With all due respect, I love this project, I do not think you could be the filmmaker.’ That’s a really powerful thing to say. That’s an important stance to take in order to make room for the true authentic storytellers.”
She later talked about her statement on Instagram. “In this transformation that’s happening, there’s a new freedom of expression,” Howard said. “I’m seeing from others — and feeling from myself — that it is less about worrying about offending people and looking within and saying, ‘Why? What really am I scared of, and what is that reinforcing?’ And so I posted it and didn’t look back.”
It sounds like multiple stars had a good experience working on the movie. But they agree Black characters weren’t given the focus necessary for it to work.