The Actress Who Didn't Want to Play a Maid in The Help
Season 5 Episode 523
Aired on 04/23/2016
In 2011, the drama The Help, adapted from a book of the same name, told the story of the relationship between two black maids in 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi, as well as the journalist who decides to write a book from their perspective in an attempt to expose the racism of the South during the Civil Rights era. The movie went on to garner four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actress.
When Waiting to Exhale star Lela Rochon read the script before the film was cast, she wasn't impressed. "I wasn't a fan of the idea of playing a maid. So, as I started reading it, you know, I didn't really get it. I was like, 'Eh, okay, I'm not interested in that.'"
Lela says she threw the script in the garbage, which she says wasn't the first time she passed on a movie that ended up being a huge hit. "Sometimes you read a script and you don't know what it's going to be. I remember reading The Matrix as technobabble, as scientific. I [didn't] even understand what I'm reading... It was huge."
Tune in for Oprah: Where Are They Now? at 10/9c on Saturday, April 23.