As announced last week, in a likely effort to win over support from the historical organization and its followers, DreamWorks Studios held a special advanced screening of The Help at the 102nd NAACP National Convention just yesterday, July 27, at the Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE Stadium 14 in Downtown Los Angeles.
The screening was followed by a panel discussion with stars Viola Davis and Bryce Dallas Howard, screenwriter/director Tate Taylor and author Kathryn Stockett, on whose debut novel the film is based.
Also present was special guest - pioneering civil rights leader and former NAACP Chairman Myrlie Evers-Williams (widow of murdered civil rights leader Medgar Evers), who shared her thoughts on the book and film as well.
NAACP officials have rallied around the film, calling it "captivating, provocative, and emotionally moving."
Will this calculated move by Dreamworks pay off at the box office? Well, we'll see. From the responses of most of you who read this site, I gather your money will be spent elsewhere opening weekend. Although, maybe much to your chagrin, your dollars may not be necessary, because, from what I hear, white women who've read the bestselling book, absolutely love it (some black women too), and are really looking forward to seeing the film. So, I expect they'll support it well enough.
None of us was present for last night's NAACP screening, but, thankfully, it was a recorded event, and I found a few short clips of the event online, from Myrlie Evers-Williams' thoughts on the book and the film (here's a hint: she loved both), to the Q&A that followed the screening (and from the looks of that, it's apparent that the predominantly black audience loved it too.
Watch the 4 clips below (I suspect more will turn up later, and I'll add them as I find them):
Myrlie Evers-Williams shares her thoughts here:
Here's the intro to the screening:
The first part of the Q&A:
The second part of the Q&A: