Posts Tagged ‘The Help’


Screen-Shot-2015-06-30-at-1.42.28-PM-300x188Welcome to the House of Crouse. I like Bryce Dallas Howard. Interviewed her a few times and I know two things, she is very nice and has a great laugh. She’s down to earth and says things like, “I have a very strong body, a dense body, I’m big boned.” She’s not your typical star and today we talk about a number of things including her new film Pete’s Dragon, her dad Ron Howard and working with Robert Redford. It’s good stuff and you’ll like it. C’mon in and sit a spell with me and Bryce Dallas Howard.

Listen to Bryce Dallas Howard and the other 59 House of Crouse podcasts HERE!


Richard’s Metro Canada In Focus: Why Emma Stone can do no wrong

The-amazing-spider-man-2-emma-stoneBy Richard Crouse – Metro Canada In Focus

The Spider-Man movies don’t skimp on the stuff that puts the “super” into superhero movies. There’s web-slinging shenanigans and wild bad guys galore, but The Amazing Spider-Man 2 director Marc Webb calls the relationship between Spidey and girlfriend Gwen Stacy, “the engine of the movie.”

The chemistry the real-life couple brings to the screen is undeniable, but it almost didn’t get a chance to blossom. Before Emma Stone landed the role of the brainiac love interest, Mia Wasikowska, Imogen Poots, Emma Roberts and even Lindsay Lohan were considered.

Stone won some of the best reviews of her career playing Gwen in The Amazing Spider-Man — Peter Travers said she, “just jumps to life on screen” — in a role that gave her the biggest hit of her career to date.

Smaller roles in Superbad and Zombieland hinted at her ability to be funny and hold the screen, but in 2010’s Easy A she turned a corner into full-on Lucille Ball mode, mixing pratfalls with wit while pulling faces and cracking jokes. Smart and funny, she’s the film’s centrepiece.

The movie begins with the voice over, “The rumours of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.” It’s the voice of Olive (Stone), a clean-cut high school senior who tells a little white lie about losing her virginity. As soon as the gossip mill gets a hold of the info, however, her life takes a parallel course to the heroine of the book she is studying in English class — The Scarlet Letter.

Stone is laugh-out-loud funny in Easy A, but her breakout film was a serious drama.

In The Help, she plays Jackson, Miss. native “Skeeter” Phelan who comes home from four years at school to discover the woman who raised her, a maid named Constantine (Cicely Tyson), is no longer employed by her family. Her mother says she quit, but Skeeter has doubts. With the help of a courageous group of housekeepers she tells the real story of the life of the maids, writing a book called The Help.

The Flick Filosopher called her performance, “on fire with indignation and rage,” and she moved from The Help to a variety of roles, including playing a femme fatale in Gangster Squad opposite Ryan Gosling and Josh Brolin, and lending her trademark raspy voice to cave girl Eep in the animated hit The Croods.

The 25-year-old actress is living her childhood dream of being an actress but says if performing hadn’t worked out, she would have been a journalist, “because (investigating people’s lives is) pretty much what an actor does.

“And imagine getting to interview people like me,” she laughs. ‘’It can’t get much better than that.”


the_help01“The Help,” an adaptation of a 2009 best seller of the same name by Kathryn Stockett, has a tricky story to tell. Make it too uplifting and it will ring historically false; make it too realistically downbeat and summer audiences might stay away. Luckily, the story of a Southern Belle’s social awakening and the women who made it possible, hits most of the right notes.

Set in the weeks and months leading up to the 1963 death of African American civil rights activist Medgar Evers, “The Help” is the story of Jackson, Mississippi native “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone), who comes home from four years at school to discover the woman who raised her, a maid named Constantine (Cicely Tyson), is no longer employed by her family. Her mother says she quit, but Skeeter has doubts. Meanwhile Skeeter takes a job writing a domestic maintenance column for the local newspaper. When she asks a friend’s maid, Aibileen (Viola Davis) for housekeeping tips she realizes there is more to the lives of the maids who raised her and her friends than she previously thought. With the help of a courageous group of housekeepers she tells the real story of the life of the maids, writing a book called “The Help.”

“The Help” is set at a time in the South when groups like the White Citizen’s Council had an office on Main Street and those same citizens didn’t see the irony of arriving at a charity event called The African Children’s Ball in a White’s Only taxi cab. The film gets the casual racism of the time right, offering up a sense of the era, but in a sanitized Hollywood sort of way. The brutal details of the book—stories of lynchings and corporal punishment for trifling matters—have been wiped away. Even the death of Evers, a turning point in the Civil Rights movement, happens off screen and goes largely unexplored.

There are some subtle moments that really ring true however. In one scene Skeeter visits Aibileen as she does her chores to try and convince her to be interviewed for the book. She’s meeting with her person to person, but when it starts to rain Skeeter rushes to get out of the rain without offering to help Aibileen gather up the rest of the laundry she had been bringing in from the clothes line. Skeeter wants to level the playing field between them, but she hasn’t yet completely let go of the idea of what is maid’s work and what is not.

But having said all that, this isn’t a history lesson. If you want real life grit rent “Eyes on the Prize”—Harry Hampton’s 1987 documentary on the American Civil Rights Movement from 1952 to 1965—because you won’t find it here. What you will find is a portrait of the South painted in broad strokes, performed by an eager and talented cast.

Some of the performances are pitched a bit over-the-top—Jessica Chastain, so understated in “The Tree of Life” seems positively ready to burst in the first half of this movie—but in the Southern Belle category, Emma Stone (and her football-sized eyes) brings some curly-haired determination to the role. She’s obviously different, the filmmakers seem to be telling us, because she’s the only one without a pulled back Beehive hairdo. Allison Janney as Skeeter’s dramatic mother—“My daughter has upset my cancerous ulcer,” she cries at one point—really shines and Bryce Dallas Howard as Hilly Holbrook, the town’s well-born racist, is a chilling reminder of the genteel face of intolerance.

The performance that sells the picture, however, belongs to Academy Award nominee Viola Davis. As Aibileen she is the soul of the film, a woman who has been hurt by life but is still capable of nurturing the very people who wounded her. Even though she doesn’t have the movie’s showiest role—that’s Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson—she’s still the film’s strongest and most memorable character.

“The Help” is a heartfelt and sincere story that could have benefited from a little less of those qualities and a little more realism.

Bryce Dallas Howard Goes Back in Time in ‘The Help’ Movies PEOPLE Tuesday, August 9, 2011 By Richard Crouse

bryce-dallas-howard-and-the-help-movie-galleryBryce Dallas Howard broke one of acting’s cardinal rules when she took on the role of Hilly Holbrook, the socialite segregationist in the film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett’s best selling book The Help. It’s always said that an actor cannot judge the character they are playing. Doing so erases any chance of finding the character’s humanity.

“I think they say that for a reason,” she said in a recent interview in Toronto. “I didn’t listen and I did judge her and it was really hard for me to create a real human being for a very long time. It wasn’t until just before shooting that a few things pieced together in my head that made me say, ‘Oh man, this is why she is this way. I can play that. I can play that person.’”

“That person” is the villain of the piece. Set in the weeks and months leading up to the 1963 death of African American civil rights activist Medgar Evers, The Help is the story of a young writer (Emma Stone) who goes against convention—and Hilly, the town’s most outspoken racist—to tell the stories of the settlement’s African-American maids (Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer).

“She’s the character you love to hate [in the book] and I was really excited to play her,” she says. “But then I got to Mississippi for rehearsals and I realized, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t play a kind of Cruella de Vil version of this woman.’

“This is a character based on not just several women of the time, but the majority of women, and if I didn’t get into her psychology then I was not really portraying the devastating honesty of the people at that time. So I had to get how she ticked.”

Shooting in Greenwood, Mississippi helped her find the character.

“Greenwood, Mississippi happens to be a really well persevered town,” she said. “When you are there the aesthetics of what you are surrounded by is so out of the ordinary because you really feel like you are walking around in the 1960s. The houses look exactly the way they did back then. To the eye it is really beautiful, and I think that was captured in the film, but making this movie and shooting there was eerie because it felt like, while the people were so great and embraced us, aesthetically you felt like you were in a place where nothing had changed.

“Then of course, if you know the history of that era, I mean, Greenwood, Mississippi, in particular, was really the hotbed of the civil rights movement. It’s where the White Citizen’s Council was. Emmett Till was a young boy who was murdered by a group of white men, which was kind of in a way the beginning of the civil rights movement.

“You couldn’t forget that. It made everything extremely real to all of us. If we were shooting in a soundstage in Los Angeles it would have been easier to escape at night or in between takes, whereas shooting there we couldn’t escape what the movie was about.”

Playing the prejudiced Hilly as a combo of “queen bee” and “power hungry woman with a duplicitous nature,” Howard was struck by the immediacy of the film’s story of racism and segregation.

“This was just my parent’s generation,” she says. “That was so recent. On the one hand it is great to see how far we’ve come but we have to remind ourselves that we are very, very close to it and can easily slip back into that mentality.

“I have a four-and-a-half year old son and I’m pregnant now and I think about the things that my children will grow up and say, ‘I can’t believe that was an issue.’ My prayer for myself is that I’m on the right side of history. That I can say, I did something, that I contributed to the evolution of my country.”