Take a beloved book, turn it into a film – and take cover, because the millions who adore the book will come out swinging. Their affection makes them protective. Love makes them loyal – and ready to punch anyone who messes with the object of their affection.
For many people in the audience at Tuesday's screening of "The Help," the film based on Kathryn Stockett's bazillion-selling novel of the same name, seeing the movie was a risk.
"I was so afraid!" one woman told me. "I thought, ‘ What if they ruin the book?'"
Adding to the drama was the fact that the film's director, Tate Taylor, attended the Tribune-sponsored screening, along with cast members Emma Stone and Octavia Spencer. Taylor, Stone and Spencer answered questions from the audience after the movie, which opens nationally August 8.
The novel, a tale of race relations in Jackson, Miss., in the early 1960s, provokes an extraordinary degree of loyalty among readers. When a young white woman urges the African American maids in her neighborhood to make their voices heard, the results are funny, tragic and tumultuous.
Will readers flock to the movie? No telling. But the crowd that gathered at the ICON theater at 150 W. Roosevelt Rd. seemed to have one thing on its mind:
Would the movie measure up to the book?
Come Aug. 8, you get to decide for yourself.