The Disney film’s stars spoke to The Hollywood Reporter at the Deauville American Film Festival in France.
The stars of this summer’s breakout hit The Help headed from Jackson, Mississippi to the beaches of Normandy for the French premiere of the film at the Deauville American Film Festival on Friday night. The film’s stars Viola Davis and Emma Stone took refuge from the rainy weekend to sit down with The Hollywood Reporter’s France Correspondent Rebecca Leffler and talk about the film’s reception across the Atlantic. The Help, still at the top of the U.S. box office and already far across the $100 million mark stateside, will be released in France on Oct. 26th.
The Hollywood Reporter: The film just premiered in Deauville to a thunderous round of applause and the buzz around the festival has been positive. It’s a very American subject, so what is it about the film that makes it appeal to an international crowd?
Emma Stone: It’s human. Everyone wants to talk about the race issues, feminism and the themes the movie touches on. But even more than that, it’s the story of three women who come together in an unlikely way to create positive change. Everyone has the ability to be extraordinary. It’s about ordinary people brave enough to want to be extraordinary. Every human being can relate to that. My character Skeeter also deals with being different and not having the same mentality as the people around her.
THR: How did the story touch you personally?
Viola Davis: When I was growing up, we were the only black family in our town in Rhode Island. All of the images I saw in school were black people in the cotton fields. I remember telling my teacher when I was 15: “Black people never did anything,” He took me to the black historical society where we saw writing from black intellectuals and influential people. I remember that day so clearly. We sat for about an hour and just cried.
THR: Do you think the fact that this film is so popular shows that there’s been a shift in thinking in America?
Davis: I have a fantasy that people are intrigued by the topic and that they’re attracted to the wide range of characters. My fear is that the movie is popular because the book was popular. It is my fantasy and my hope that more movies with black people in them will become more mainstream and not just movies dealing with race.
THR: The Help has obviously affected many people, but how did this film influence you personally?
Stone: This story is the first one where what we’re discussing during the promotion is enriching my life. When I was younger, all I really wanted was to make my parents laugh. At the end of the day, I was just dancing in my living room. I still am. But now, I understand the power of storytelling now beyond just being a childhood ham.
PHOTOS: The Help’s Retro, Southern Style
THR: How was the response here in Deauville different from the reaction in Hollywood?
Davis: It was different from the premiere in Los Angeles. People clapped, but not with as much uninhibited joy. It was just enormous here last night.
The long Labor Day weekend is providing some help to “The Help.”
The historical drama grossed $3.6 million so far this weekend, on its way to $14 million for the frame. The film, starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Viola Davis and Emma Stone, is closing in on $120 million after three weeks.
Meanwhile, Weinstein Company’s low-budget found footage thriller “Apollo 18″ scared up a decent $2.8 million, and is projected to earn $11 million for the weekend, just below the studio’s expectations.
Another debut, “Shark Night 3D,” earned $2.8 million, aided by playing on 3D screens. The film should earn around $8 or $9 million over the three-day.
However, the more specialized thriller “The Debt,” powered by Helen Mirren and Sam Worthington, may give “Shark Night” a run for its money. The film earned an impressive $1.9 million Friday, from significantly less screens.
Earlier today, Emma Stone was photographed with her co-stars from “The Help” during a photocall at the Deauville Film Festival in France. I have just added 43 photos from the event into our photo gallery!
Emma Stone Photo Gallery > Appearances > From 2011 > 37th Deauville Film Festival – “The Help” Photocall
On September 2nd, Emma Stone was photographed at the opening night ceremony and screening of “The Help” at the Deauville Film Festival in Paris, France. I have just added 50 HQ and MQ photos from the event into our photo gallery!
Also, Emma Stone was photographed on September 1st out in Paris and I have added 5 photos of her from that.
Emma Stone Photo Gallery > Miscellaneous > Candids > September 1, 2011 – Paris
Emma Stone Photo Gallery > Appearances > From 2011 > 37th Deauville Film Festival – “The Help” Screening
DreamWorks’ “The Help” helped itself to the $100 million mark at the domestic box office, the studio announced Wednesday.
The $25 million period drama starring Emma Stone has been one of the summer’s surprise breakout hits, winning the domestic box office during its second and third weekends of release.
“We went from opening not No. 1 to being No. 1, which is unusual in itself,” Dave Hollis, Disney’s executive VP of distribution, told TheWrap. Disney handles distribution for DreamWorks.
Three weeks into its run, “The Help” is actually adding locations: It opened with 2,534 theaters in the U.S. and Canada, expanded by 156 in its second week, by another 88 in its third and is going up by some 65 more this weekend, Hollis said.
And as time goes on, the demographics of its audience are changing.
Hollis said that during the first weekend, the movie played well in urban, heartland and upscale theaters, but skewed older and female.
In the weeks since, it has expanded its reach and is now drawing old and young, male and female, Hollis said.
“We hope that what we’ve seen to date is something that can continue into the end of summer and into fall,” he said. “We’ve been fortunate to have what I can only describe as the movie to see in recent weeks.”
The movie opens in its first international territory, Australia, this weekend.
“The Help” is the story of friendship among African American maids in 1963, and offers an unsparing look at the way their employers treat them.
In a written statement, writer-director Tate Taylor said, “We never imagined this film, which began its journey inspired by the enthusiasm of a small group of Mississippi friends, would ever even get made. Now to have it seen and embraced by so many people is just beyond our wildest dreams.”
PETA’s 2010 Sexiest Vegetarian Celebrity Olivia Wilde and shelter dog advocate Emma Stone have another (synthetic) feather to put in their nonwool caps.
The ladies each earned a PETA Kind Choices Award for promoting cruelty-free cosmetics from Revlon, one of the first cosmetics companies to ban all animal testing.
Olivia and Emma are gorgeous living proof that women can save animals’ lives with every mascara, eye shadow, and blush product they purchase. In addition to Revlon, hundreds of other companies, including Almay, Kiss My Face and ELF, refuse to test their products on animals. Check out PETA’s handy cruelty-free guide for the complete list.
I have added 34 HQ and MQ candid photos of Emma Stone from August 24th and August 26th into our photo gallery! The photos from August 24th were of Emma Stone at the opening night for her best friend Taylor Swift’s concert in Los Angeles. The photos from August 26th are of Emma Stone and Andrew Garfield being pulled over by police in Los Angeles after their friend was driving “erratically”.
It what may be the lowest grossing weekend of the year, The Help finished in first place for the second week in a row with $14.3 million, according to studio estimates. The PG-13 drama dropped only 28 percent — a particularly impressive hold considering that this weekend also marked the debut of Hurricane Irene, which was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made its way through New York City and New England. The Help, which cost $25 million to produce and has so far earned $96.6 million, should cross the $100 million mark by Wednesday.
But while The Help managed to withstand Mother Nature, the overall market took a beating. According to the box office reporting service Rentrak, as many as 1,000 theaters closed at some point during the weekend due to Irene. AMC Theatres, for instance, shut down all of its theaters in New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C.
“Our key large urban East Coast markets were really killed and many theaters closed or were dead even if they remained open,” said FilmDistrict exec Bob Berney in a statement, whose studio released the horror flick Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark. “The E-Walk on 42nd Street in Manhattan gross was $20,800 on Friday and $0 on Saturday.” The weekend box office was down an estimated 23 percent from last year, and is running neck and neck with Super Bowl weekend (Feb. 4-6) as the slowest of the year. (It’s too early to say which weekend will claim the dubious title.)