DreamWorks Studios has acquired Kathryn Stockett’s 2009 bestseller The Help and set the author’s childhood friend Tate Taylor to direct.

Taylor acquired the rights, adapted the screenplay and will produce with his Harbinger Pictures partner Brunson Green alongside Michael Barnathan, Chris Columbus and Mark Radcliffe of 1492 Pictures.

The 2009 novel is set against the backdrop of the South in the 1960s as the fragile relationship between Southern women and their housekeepers is challenged by an aspiring writer who elicits shockingly candid answers from the maids when he conducts a series of interviews.

The Help is much more than a book; it has become a cultural phenomenon that has captured the imagination of people everywhere,” Holly Bario, who along with Mark Sourian serves as the studio’s co-president of production, said.

“Stockett’s novel, and subsequently, Tate Taylor’s script, perfectly depicts the distinctive relationships these women shared with one another. It’s a story that has touched us and one that we look forward to bringing to a wider audience.”

“Kathryn has managed to accomplish the rare feat of taking a deeply, personal story and connecting it to a universal truth about all of us,” Taylor said.