Jessica Chastain (Tree of Life) has signed onto The Help, for DreamWorks. The project is based on the Kathryn Stockett novel. The pic centers on
black maids working in white households in the early 1960s in
Jackson, Miss. Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and
Octavia Spencer are among the cast. Chastain is playing Celia Foote, an insecure Southern lady
constantly trying to fit in with the high society women who reject
her. Tate Taylor wrote the script and is directing. Chastain also has John Madden’s The Debt upcoming with Helen Mirren, and also The Fields with Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Elias Koteas joins Terrence Howard, Jennifer Hudson and Wendy Crewson in Winnie, the Winnie Mandela biopic for Equinoxe Films. Koteas will play De Vries, an overzealous officer in the apartheid
police state who rises in power and becomes intent on stopping Winnie
and the black anti-apartheid activists from gaining power. Daniel Roodt is directing the picture, which is shooting in Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Robbin Island. Koteas will be seen in the upcoming Let Me In and Dream House.
In directing news, Dermot Mulroney has secured the life rights of Liberian soccer star turned politician, George Weah for his next directing gig. Weah rose from the slums of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, to become
the only person to win FIFA World Player of the Year, European
Footballer of the Year and African Footballer of the Year in one
season (1995). He used his popularity as a sports figure to help
child soldiers lay down their weapons, and his influence in
Liberia, one of Africa’s most corrupt and dangerous nations, was a
factor in bringing down the bloody dictatorship of Charles Taylor,
presently on trial at the Hague for international war crimes. Mulroney is wrapping his directorial debut, Love Wedding Marriage, which stars Mandy
Moore, Kellan Lutz, James Brolin and Jane Seymour.
Director Wayne Kramer (Running Scared, The Cooler) is readying Pretty Boy Floyd, a biopic on the notorious gangster and bank robber for Myriad Pictures. Kevin Bernhardt wrote the script. “My approach is to bring 21st century style and energy to Kevin
Bernhardt’s meticulously researched screenplay without sacrificing the
verisimilitude of the period or over-sensationalizing the characters
themselves,” says Kramer.
George Hamilton is getting a docusoap readied for him by TV Land. Source article describes the project as a “real life Two and a Half Men.” Project chronicles the lives of Hamilton and
his older son Ashley and younger son George Thomas. In the show’s
logline, Hamilton and Ashley are perpetual bachelors who have to
grow up when 10-year-old George comes to L.A. to live with them. TV Land, which was known for rerunning classic sitcoms is segueing more into reality TV. Hamilton’s last regular TV gig was the 1990s sitcom, Jenny. he also had a recurring role in Dynasty.
Behind every great book adaptation is a forgettable first try. — By Ryan Covey