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Actresses get emotional over 'The Help' roles

Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer in a scene from the 2011 film, 'The Help.' (Courtesy of Dale Robinette / DreamWorks II Distribution Co., LLC.)

August 8, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
The new movie "The Help" stars Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sissy Spacek and Allison Janney. But the film also features a talented supporting cast; names you may not recognize just yet, but after the movie opens you will.

"The Help" is based on the bestselling novel of the same name. The book follows the lives of three very different women -- two African American maids and the daughter of a prominent white family -- in the 1960s who team up to change their southern town and expose the treatment of African American maids in white households.

Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer are part of the ensemble cast. The actors shot the film away from Hollywood, on location in Mississippi, where the novel is set.

"I felt from the very beginning, from my very first audition, that this was not typical Hollywood," said Chastain. "The kidness and working with this girl (pointing to Spencer), the second I met her, I knew I had to play Celia."

Spencer has been friends with "The Help" writer-director Tate Taylor for many years, who, in turn, has been lifelong friends with the novel's writer, Kathryn Stockett. The actress marvels in the fact that all these friends have been able to see this project through together.

"To get to see Octavia play this role, this really dynamic woman, an amazing character, who she inspired because she's an amazing dynamic woman, it's really powerful," said Chastain.

Their two characters, Celia Foote and her new maid Minny Jackson, forge a deep bond on screen. And it's obvious the same thing happened with the cast off screen as well.

"I've just grown attached to these people, and I don't know what my life would have been like had I not gotten to do it and certainly I know now what my life wouldn't be without these women in it. So I'm really grateful for that," said Spencer.

"The Help" opens on Wednesday, August 10.

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