Bryce Dallas Howard Wouldn't Do The Help Today: 'Make Room for the True Authentic Storytellers'
The actress said she "didn’t look back" after criticizing her 2011 film earlier this month on Instagram
The actress, 39, recently spoke with the Los Angeles Times about a new documentary she directed called Dads, and addressed the renewed popularity of the 2011 Oscar-winning film amid the Black Lives Matter protests occurring worldwide. The drama has been criticized for its portrayal of African American civil rights struggles through a white lens.
Howard, earlier this month, urged fans on Instagram to look beyond The Help to further their understanding of racial inequalities. In the social media post, Howard — who played bigoted housewife Hilly Holbrook in the movie — acknowledged that, while she is "grateful" for her time on the project, it was "created by predominantly white storytellers."
Asked by the L.A. Times whether she'd make the same movie today, she answered, "No."
"But what I will say is: What I’ve seen is that folks have the courage to say that. 'With all due respect, I love this project, I do not think you could be the filmmaker.' That’s a really powerful thing to say," Howard told the outlet. "That’s an important stance to take in order to make room for the true authentic storytellers."
"In this transformation that’s happening, there’s a new freedom of expression," she continued. "I’m seeing from others — and feeling from myself — that it is less about worrying about offending people and looking within and saying, 'Why? What really am I scared of, and what is that reinforcing?'"
The star said she posted the honest Instagram message and "didn’t look back."
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In The Help — which is based on the bestselling 2009 novel by Kathryn Stockett and directed by Tate Taylor — a white Mississippi woman (Emma Stone) interviews black women about their time serving white families as maids. The film also starred Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek and Cicely Tyson.
Viola Davis, who was nominated for Best Actress for playing Aibileen, spoke out in 2018 about her regrets in making the movie, telling The New York Times that she "just felt that at the end of the day that it wasn’t the voices of the maids that were heard."
In her new interview, Howard said Hollywood should look to black storytellers for new perspectives.
"Right now, in this time, stories are going to play a crucial role in our ability to empathize and to be inspired into action," she said. "And the storytellers who we must listen to right now and look to and learn from — there’s an extraordinary body of work that centers on black characters from black creators.
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With her Instagram post, Howard made several recommendations for movies and TV shows fans could check out to extend their knowledge of the black experience. "Stories are a gateway to radical empathy and the greatest ones are catalysts for action," wrote Howard.
Among the shows and movies she recommended are Ava Duvernay's 13th, Selma and When They See Us. She also identified HBO's Watchmen series, Just Mercy, I Am Not Your Negro, Eyes on the Prize, Malcolm X and Say Her Name.
Dads is available to stream on Friday, June 19, on Apple TV+.