- Jessica Chastain expresses interest in a sequel to The Help, wanting to explore the relationship between her character Celia and Octavia Spencer’s Minny further.
- The Help has faced backlash for its white savior narrative and oversimplification of harsh truths, with some of the actors expressing regret for their involvement.
- While Chastain may want to revisit her character, a sequel to The Help seems unwise, as it could further perpetuate the problematic elements of the original story.
Jessica Chastain has shared interest in making a sequel to The Help. The 2011 Oscar-nominated movie is adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s novel that takes place in 1963 Mississippi. It tells the story of a white journalist named Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) interviewing and writing a book about Black women who spent their lives caring for affluent white families. Aibileen Clark (Viola Davis) and Minerva “Minny” Jackson (Octavia Spencer) are the Black women who receive the most focus in the story. Minny works for Celia Foote (Chastain), who is shunned by the other white housewives.
During an interview with EW‘s Awardist podcast, Chastain spoke about wanting to reprise the role of Celia in a sequel to The Help. She shared what she enjoyed about playing Celia, why she wants to revisit the role, and how the movie could further explore her character’s relationship with Minny. Read Chastain’s comments below:
“You know who I think about all the time, and I just wish I could play her [again]? Celia Foote. I just want to do something, Celia and Minny, and see what happened. You know they ended up living together and raising the baby together, they were best friends. How amazing would that film be? I loved her, and I got to be a bit silly.
“A lot of my characters I feel like I got to experience a lot. Celia, it was such a deep dive for me. I really threw on that character and I didn’t really get to mine that much material, because I was a supporting part of that story. That’s a character I wish I could revisit.”
Why A Sequel To The Help Is A Bad Idea
While The Help initially earned a mostly positive reception, it garnered a much more negative and complicated legacy in the years that followed. The movie has been heavily criticized for its white savior narrative. Despite the story’s focus on Black women, it is mostly told through the perspective of Skeeter and examines how her interviews and writing help Aibileen, Minny, and other Black characters in the story. It doesn’t help that the narrative was predominantly told by white storytellers, including the author of the novel, Stockett, and the film adaptation’s director, Tate Taylor.
Some of the movie’s actors have expressed a similar sentiment, with Davis saying she regrets starring in The Help. Davis stated, “There’s a part of me that feels like I betrayed myself, and my people, because I was in a movie that wasn’t ready to [tell the whole truth],” and that the movie was “invested in the idea of what it means to be Black, but… it’s catering to the white audience.” Davis’ remarks encapsulate how The Help‘s oversimplification of harsh truths and its white savior narrative have not aged well.
Like many elements in The Help, Celia and Minny’s unlikely friendship lacked the nuance needed to do it justice. While a sequel could attempt to fix this, it seems more likely to do further harm. Chastain’s pitch for a lighthearted movie where Minny is still living with Celia as they raise Celia’s baby together sounds like an extension of the problematic elements that plagued the original story in the first place. Celia may be a character that Chastain wants to play again but revisiting The Help with a sequel seems like a deeply unwise idea.
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