“The Help” Stars Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain Reuniting for Universal Holiday Comedy


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Seven years after starring together in Tate Taylor’s The Help, for which they both received Oscar nominations,  and will reunite as the co-stars of a new UNTITLED UNIVERSAL HOLIDAY COMEDY, the Tracking Board has confirmed.

The project came as an untitled pitch from Chastain and her company Freckle that Universal picked up out of a bidding war with Fox and Paramount. Chastain and Kelly Carmichael wrote the original treatment with (Crazy Rich Asian) attached to write the screenplay.

The pitch involves two women fighting the elements to make it home by Christmas, so a female-centric Planes, Trains and Automobiles?

Chastain will produce along with Carmichael and Maven Pictures’ Celine Rattray and Trudie Styler. Universal’s Exec VP of Erik Baiers and creative executive Mika Pryce will oversee the project for the studio.

Spencer eventually won the Oscar for her role in The Help, but both actors have continued to receive attention in the years that followed. Chastain was nominated a second time for Zero Dark Thirty, and she’s been receiving some awards attention for her role playing Molly Bloom in Aaron Sorkin’s Molly’s Game. Spencer received another Oscar nomination for last year’s Hidden Figures and is predicted to be nominated a third time for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. They both were nominated for the 75th Golden Globes for their respective roles

Repped by , and , Chiarelli wrote the romantic comedy The Proposal, which was a hit for Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds. He also wrote the buzzworthy comedy Crazy Rich Asians, which Warner Bros. will release on August 17.

Chastain’s next significant role is playing someone named “Smith” in Fox’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix, but she also stars in Susanna White’s Woman Walks Ahead, which was picked up by A24 and DirecTV after its Toronto Festival premiere. (No date has been set for that film yet.) Chastain also has any number of on the table she could start filming soon, and she is repped by , and .

Spencer, repped by and , will be at Sundance this week as part of the U.S. Narrative jury, but she’ll also have the non-competition film A Kid Like Jake having its world premiere at this year’s fest.

Variety initially reported on this project.

  | East Coast Editor

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