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Two Childhood Friends Help Each Succeed in their Creative Careers

Updated on August 13, 2018
Kenna McHugh profile image

Kenna worked on many productions as PA, Craft Services, Talent Scout, Grip, and Producer. Credits include Bowling for Columbine, Wallace.

Friends Help Each Other

There is a wonderful backstory of how two friends helped each other break into two rather competitive fields: publishing and filmmaking.

It was a friendship between two people that got the book, The Help, published as a bestseller. And, it also took the same two people to make it into a movie. Director and screenwriter Tate Taylor and author Kathryn Stockett were childhood friends in the 1970s. They grew up together in Mississippi and their friendship lasted into their adult years where the collaborated on a successful movie - The Help.

Stockett took five years to write the novel and over 60 rejections from literary agents. She approached Taylor with her dilemma. Taylor, being a close friend, was sympathetic and decided to read her manuscript.

He was "blown away" and very moved by the truth within the story because he grew up in the same culture as Stockett. The story concerns unlikely women coming together to make a change in Mississippi in 1963. One woman, who is a writer, conducts research about Black women raising children in a White household. The Black women and the writer, who is white, become friends as they try to change the viewpoint of Black women working for White families in Mississippi.

Both Taylor and Stockett were raised by single mothers. Their mothers worked full time. Similar to the women in the story, they needed help raising their children. Taylor and Stockett called the women who help raise them "co-mothers."

Taylor supported Stockett saying that her manuscript was fantastic and not to give up. He promised he'd make it into a movie if it didn't get published.

Great Interview

I didn't think so, honey. Every day you're not dead in the ground, when you wake up in the morning, you're gonna have to make some decisions. Got to ask yourself this question: "Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today?" You hear me? "Am I gonna believe all them bad things them fools say about me today? You hear me today?" All right? As for your mama, she didn't pick her life. It picked her. But you, you're gonna do something big with yours. You wait and see.

— Constantine Jefferson in the movie The Help

Promises Pay Off

So, Stockett's career took off with her bestseller and Taylor wrote the adaptation of the book for the silver screen and directed the movie with a great cast.

Needless to say, The Help was published and became an ultimate bestseller. But, Taylor remembered the story because of its authenticity. It continued to resonate with him from the moment he opened the book. He thought the story reflected his childhood friendship with Stockett, although their lives were very different from the characters in the story.

Their story offers a solution for those who would like to break into writing or filmmaking to remember their childhood friends as a source of inspiration or help. Either way, collaborating on a project with a childhood friend is a wonderful way to keep the friendship growing and lasting forever.

Having friends that help you is so special in real life. This is a great story of Stockett and Taylor helping each other, working their way to success in their chosen careers.


Taylor's Next Movie - Ma

Tad Taylor is still directing and is in post-production for the movie Ma. Starring Juliette Lewis, Octavia Spenser, and Luke Evans is produced by Taylor and Blumhouse. The psychological horror-thriller is about a lonely woman who becomes friends with a group of teenagers. She allows them to party at her house.

The teenagers think they've got it made, but the woman begins acting strangely in a horrific way, and it turns out she is not as nice as they thought.

© 2011 Kenna McHugh


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    • Kenna McHugh profile imageAUTHOR

      Kenna McHugh 

      7 years ago from Northern California


      Thanks! I found the story inspirational too. It will be interesting to see if the writer and director work together again.

    • Bud Gallant profile image

      Bud Gallant 

      7 years ago from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada

      Wow... That is an amazing and inspirational story.

      Thanks so much for sharing it.


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