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The Help Movie Script

Writer(s) : Tate Taylor, Kathryn Stockett

Genres : Drama

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                                 THE HELP

                         


                                Written by

                               Tate Taylor                     

                         

                         
                           Based on the novel by
           
                             Kathryn Stockett

                         

                         

                         

                         
                                                      Second Draft,
                                                  November 9, 2009

          WILLIAM FAULKNER wrote of Mammy Callie after her death:

                         
          "...she gave to my family a fidelity without stint or
          calculation or recompense and gave to my childhood an
          immeasurable devotion and love".

          JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI 1963

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NIGHT

          AIBILEEN, black, 53, sits at a table in a small, green
          kitchen. She wears a yellow dress with black piping and
          grips a tattered spiral notebook.
          Although cracked, the window behind her is crystal clear.
          Three framed portraits hang on the wall above her: John F.
          Kennedy, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and an UNKNOWN YOUNG
          BLACK MALE wearing thick glasses.
          Aibileen swallows hard.

                          AIBILEEN
           I was...born in 1911...on Piedmont
           Plantation in Cherokee County.
          An UNSEEN WOMAN interviews Aibileen.

           WOMAN (O.C.)
           Did you know as a girl, growing up,
           that one day you'd be a maid?

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am. I did.

           WOMAN (O.C.)
           And you knew that because?

                          AIBILEEN
           Momma was a maid. My grandmother
           was a house slave.

           WOMAN (0.C.)
           Oh.
          The woman repeats Aibileen's answer slowly as she writes.

           WOMAN (O.C.) (CONT'D)
           A...House...Slave. Uh-huh. Okay.
          Aibileen squeezes the notebook in her lap.

           WOMAN (O.C.) (CONT'D)
           Now, did you ever dream of being
           something else?
          Aibileen gulps. She doesn't answer. The room is quiet.

           WOMAN (O.C.) (CONT'D)
           Well then, what's it feel like, to
           raise a white child when your own
           child's at home...being looked
           after by somebody else?

           2.

                         
          Aibileen's hand trembles as she sips from a glass of water.
          She glances sadly up to the picture of the young black male.

           FADE TO BLACK:

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           I done raised seventeen kids in my
           life. Lookin' after white babies,
           that's what I do.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - MAE MOBLEY'S ROOM - MORNING

          MAE MOBLEY LEEFOLT, 2 1/2 years old, lies in a crib, crying.
          AIBILEEN enters. Her dark black skin contrasts angelically
          with a brilliant white work dress, white panty hose and shoes

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           I know how to get them babies
           asleep, stop cryin' and go in the
           toilet bowl before they mommas even
           get outta bed in the mornin.'
          Aibileen lifts Mae Mobley out of her crib and pulls her into
          her expansive bosom.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Babies like fat. They like big fat
           legs too. That I know.
          Aibileen sits with Mae Mobley in a rocking chair.

           AIBILEEN (V.O) (CONT'D)
           I work from eight to four, six days
           a week. Ninety-five cents an hour
           comes to a hundred seventy-two
           dollars ever month. I do all the
           cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing
           and grocery shopping, but mostly, I
           take care a baby girl...And law, I
           worry she gone be fat. Ain't gonna
           be no beauty queen either.
          Mae Mobley reaches up and touches Aibileen's face. Aibileen
          kisses her and whispers in her ear.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           You is kind. You is smart. You is
           important.
          Mae Mobley's mother, ELIZABETH LEEFOLT, 21 and lanky, enters
          wearing a green dress very much under construction. Pins and
          double-stick tape hold it all together.
          Elizabeth has pointed features and a nest of teased, brittle
          hair.

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen, bridge club's in an hour!
           Did you finish the chicken salad?

           3.

                         

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           Oh, and Hilly's deviled eggs. No
           paprika!
          Elizabeth rotates around like the Tin Man.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           Does this dress look homemade?

                          AIBILEEN
           I reckon when you finish, it won't.
          Elizabeth exits with her pinned hemline sloping at a good
          twenty degree angle. Aibileen shakes her head.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Miss Leefolt still don't pick Baby
           Girl up but once a day. The
           birthin' blues had got holt a Miss
           Leefolt pretty hard. I done seen it
           happen plenty a times...once babies
           start havin' they own babies. And
           the young white ladies of
           Jackson...Oh, law, they was havin'
           some babies.

                         

          INT. JACKSON JOURNAL NEWSPAPAER - OFFICE - SAME DAY

          A smoking RECEPTIONIST, 50, leads EUGENIA "SKEETER" PHELAN,
          23, across a smoke-filled news office. Even the light bulbs
          have yellowed.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           But, not Miss Skeeter...
          Skeeter has very frizzy blond hair cut short above her
          shoulders. She carries a red satchel.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           No babies...No man...And not
           lookin'.
          She wears flats, careful not to add more than a centimeter to
          her towering height. Dressed well, Skeeter tugs on her
          unfamiliar attire.

                         

          INT. MR. BLACKLY'S OFFICE - CONTINUOUS

          The receptionist and Skeeter enter the office of MR. HAROLD
          BLACKLY, 68. He has greased, grey hair and the face of a
          mean man. Smoke pours into the room.

           MR. BLACKLY
           Shut the Goddamn door!
          He snaps his fingers over a chair. Skeeter sits down.

           MR. BLACKLY (CONT'D)
           They announced last week
           cigarettes'll kill you.

           4.

                         
          Mr. Blackly pours a pack of nuts into his mouth.

           MR. BLACKLY (CONT'D)

                          (CHEWING)
           Okay, let's see what you got.
          Skeeter quickly hands Mr. Blackly a resum�. He skims it
          over, marking it violently with a red pen.

           MR. BLACKLY (CONT'D)
           "Murrah High Editor, Ole Miss Rebel
           Rouser Editor, double major, Junior
           League editor...Damn girl, didn't
           you have any fun?

                          SKEETER
           Is that...important?
          Mr. Blackly sighs, hands the resum� back to Skeeter.

           MR. BLACKLY
           You got any references?
          Skeeter nods slowly. She takes a deep breath and pulls a
          letter out of her satchel. She hands it to Mr. Blackly.
          Mr. Blackly snatches the letter and reads it quickly,
          mouthing the words as he does. He drops the letter on his
          desk, and looks to Skeeter, flabbergasted.

           MR. BLACKLY (CONT'D)
           That...is a rejection letter.
          Skeeter's face flushes hot and quick.

                          SKEETER
           Not exactly. Missus Stein-

           MR. BLACKLY
           -STEIN?! Missus who?
          Skeeter points toward the letterhead.

                          SKEETER
           Elaine Stein, Senior Editor at
           Harper and Row Publishing. In New
           York. I'm going to be a serious
           writer, Mr. Blackly. So, when I
           applied to Harper and Row, Missus

                          STEIN WROTE-

           MR. BLACKLY
           -She told you "no."

                          SKEETER
           Until I gain some experience, Mr.
           Blackly! See, it says it right
           there at the end. "Great
           potential...Gain some experience
           and please apply again."
          Mr. Blackly pours the rest of the peanuts in his mouth.

           5.

                         

           MR. BLACKLY
           Oh, Christ...I guess you'll do.
           Can you clean?

                          SKEETER
           Clean?
          Mr. Blackly sees cigarette smoke bleeding under his door.

           MR. BLACKLY
           Clean!
          Mr. Blackly pulls up a box filled with letters and
          newspapers. He slams it down in front of Skeeter.

           MR. BLACKLY (CONT'D)
           Miss Myrna's gone shit-house crazy
           on us, drunk hair spray or
           something. Read her past columns
           and all these letters. Answer them
           just like she did, nobody'll know
           the damn difference.
          Skeeter forces a smile.

           MR. BLACKLY (CONT'D)
           You know who Miss Myrna is?

                          SKEETER

                          (COVERING)
           I read her articles all the time.

           MR. BLACKLY
           Articles? Ha! It's a cleaning
           advice column, Miss Phelan. Eight
           bucks a week. Copy due Thursday.
          Mr. Blackly picks up the phone and starts yelling at someone.
          Skeeter excitedly grabs the box of letters and leaves.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - BATHROOM - SAME DAY

          HILLY HOLBROOK, 22, white and hefty, sits on a closed toilet
          seat in a well-appointed bathroom. She's covered in red plaid
          and bows and has a round face topped by a perfect beehive.

                          HILLY

                          (SCREAMING UPWARD)
           Momma! We're late for bridge!
          Hilly carefully rolls toilet paper out from its holder. She
          raises a pencil and places the tiniest dot imaginable on the
          first and second sheets of paper.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Miss Hilly was the first of the
           babies to have a baby. And it must
           a come out of her like the eleventh
           commandment. `Cause once Miss
           Hilly had a baby, ever girl at the
           bridge table wanted one too.

           6.

                         
          She carefully rolls the paper back up in the roll.

                          HILLY
           Minny! Go get Momma!

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - ENTRY FOYER STAIRWELL - SAME TIME

          MINNY JACKSON, 33, black, plump and in uniform, rolls her
          eyes beneath a crystal chandelier. She shouts up the
          mahogany stairwell.

                          MINNY
           Missus Walters?! You need help
           coming down?
          MISSUS WALTERS, 60, passes quietly behind Minny.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           I'm down!
          Minny jumps with a yelp, spins around.

           MISSUS WALTERS (CONT'D)
           Been down.

                          MINNY
           Gone give me a heart attack!
          Missus Walters ambles toward the closet door. Minny quickly
          tries to turn her toward the front door. Missus Walters
          resists.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           Minny, I'm getting my coat.
          Missus Walters opens the closet.

                          MINNY
           It's ninety degrees out there,
           Missus Walters.
          Missus Walters pulls out a red, wool coat with cheetah print
          collar.
          The early stages of Alzheimer's have appeared, but Missus
          Walters is still quite proud at eighty percent capacity.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Once Missus Walters' arteries went
           hard, Miss Hilly moved her and
           Minny in with her. Fired the maid
           she had just to make room. See,
           Minny about the best cook in
           Mississippi, and Miss Hilly wanted
           her.
          Hilly's approach is marked by the whishing sound of her
          plaid, fat thighs.

           7.

                         
          She nonchalantly grabs the coat from her mother and carries
          it out the door.
          Minny and Missus Walters follow. Minny carries a chocolate
          pie. Hilly barks over her shoulder.

                          HILLY
           Minny, William took Billy out for
           ice cream. So, hurry back and get
           Billy down for his nap. No dilly
           dallying.

                          MINNY
           Yes, ma'am.
          Minny raises the pie behind Hilly's beehive, dreaming of
          smashing it into her head.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Minny my best friend. A old lady
           like me lucky to have her.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - BATHROOM- SAME DAY

          Aibileen kneels next to Mae Mobley who sits on a small
          children's training toilet.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           No!

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           It's a tricky thing...you try to
           make a baby go in the toilet bowl
           before it's time. If theys can't
           get the hang of it, theys get to
           thinking low a theyselves.
          Mae Mobley sticks her lip out.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           You drunk up two glasses a grape
           juice, I know you got to tee-tee.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Nooo.
          Mae Mobley shakes her head.

                          AIBILEEN
           I give you a cookie if you go.
          Tee-tee immediately sprinkles into the bowl.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Mae Mobley! You going!
          Aibileen and Mae Mobley laugh excitedly as Elizabeth storms
          into the bathroom in her finished dress. The hemline now
          slants in the other direction.

           8.

                         

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen, the girls are pulling up,
           and the table isn't set!

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Mae Mobley go, Momma!

                          ELIZABETH
           Get in your room! Right now!
          Mae Mobley rises behind Aibileen's leg.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           I sorry.
          Elizabeth reaches down and scoops up Mae Mobley like a sack
          of potatoes.
          Mae Mobley looks to Aibileen over her mother's shoulder, her
          eyes have welled up.
          Aibileen mouths "I love you" and blows her a kiss.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          The Leefolt's small, wood paneled, two bedroom "ranch" is
          destined to become income property one day.
          FIVE YOUNG WOMEN, early 20s, and Elizabeth hover around two
          collapsible card tables arranged in the living room.
          Aibileen methodically arranges grapes on a platter of chicken
          salad resting on Elizabeth's dining table. The table has a
          small L-SHAPED CRACK in the middle.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           I lost my own boy, Treelore, right
           before I started waitin' on the
           Leefolts...
          Elizabeth glances anxiously to the dining table then catches
          eyes with Aibileen, nodding ever so slightly.

                         CLOSE ON:
          Aibileen carefully slides the platter over the L-SHAPED CRACK
          making sure it's hidden.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           After Treelore died, a bitter seed
           was planted inside a me. And I
           just didn't feel so accepting
           anymore.
          Hilly enters the front door holding Missus Walters coat.

                          HILLY
           Hey, girls!

           9.

                         

                          YOUNG WOMEN

                          (IN UNISON)
           Hey, Hilly!
          Minny follows behind holding the pie and Missus Walters' arm.

                          HILLY
           (over her shoulder)
           Put Momma in a chair before she
           breaks a hip.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           I'm not deaf yet, Hilly.
          Minny spies Aibileen in the corner and gives her a "here we
          go" look as she lowers Missus Walters into a chair.
          Hilly approaches Aibileen with the coat.

                          HILLY
           Aibileen, I want you to have this
           coat. It's too big for Momma now
           and it's way too expensive to put
           in the coat drive.
          Hilly extends the coat with a smile.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           All yours.
          Aibileen takes the coat.

                          AIBILEEN
           Thank you, Miss Hilly.

                          HILLY
           Go on. Try it on.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Minny plows through the swing door and reaches for Hilly's
          deviled eggs.
          Aibileen rushes in behind her wearing the cheetah collared
          coat. The sleeves are about a foot too short.

                          AIBILEEN
           Hold on! Those are Miss Hilly's.
          Aibileen pulls another plate of eggs out of the fridge.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Gots to have paprika on `em.
          Minny takes an egg. It disappears in a single bite.

                          MINNY
           Forgive me, Lord, but I'm gonna
           have to kill that woman.

           10.

                         
          Aibileen removes the coat and lays it over a chair.

                          AIBILEEN
           Watch yo mouth, Minny.

                          MINNY
           Looks like a walking Christmas
           present with all them bows.
          Aibileen shakes with silent laughter.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           And, now she gone to puttin' pencil
           marks on the toilet paper.

                          AIBILEEN
           Oh, law! Did she?

                          MINNY
           Uh-hum. But, I carry paper in from
           my own damn house. That fool don't
           know.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - SAME TIME

          Elizabeth and Hilly cackle with a group of girls as Missus
          Walters sits on the couch watching "Guiding Light."
          Skeeter suddenly rushes through the front door.

                          SKEETER
           Hey, girls.

                          GIRLS

                          (IN UNISON)
           Hey, Skeeter.
          JOLENE FRENCH, 24, approaches and hugs Skeeter.

                          JOLENE
           Well, if it isn't Long-Haul-
           Skeeter. We didn't think you'd
           ever leave Ole Miss.

                          SKEETER
           Well, it's supposed to take four
           years, Jolene.
          Skeeter spins around to Hilly and Elizabeth with a sigh.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Sorry I'm late. I had to stop by
           the cleaners and pick up my black
           dress.
          Hilly and Elizabeth look at Skeeter with concern.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           What?

           11.

                         

                          HILLY
           About supper club tonight...Honey,
           Stuart had to cancel.

                          SKEETER
           Again?
          Hilly places her hand on Skeeter's shoulder.

                          HILLY
           He can't get off the rig, Skeeter.
           It's offshore! Stuart is a very
           successful oil man.

                          SKEETER
           I'm starting to think this Stuart
           is a figment of your imagination.

                          ELIZABETH
           Raleigh called his cousin down in
           Hattiesburg. He'll drive up.

                          SKEETER
           The cousin with one eye?!
          Elizabeth nods.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I guess his black patch will match
           my dress. Just forget it.
          Skeeter storms off. Hilly glares at Elizabeth.

                          HILLY
           One eye?!

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - LATER THE SAME DAY

          Aibileen clears the dining table as bridge begins.
          Hilly, Elizabeth and Skeeter sit with Jolene. Skeeter takes a
          deep breath and belts out her news.

                          SKEETER
           I got a job today... at The Jackson
           Journal!
          Everyone looks at Skeeter as if she just threw up on herself.
          Finally, Hilly pats Skeeter on the leg.

                          HILLY
           They'd be a fool not to hire you.
          Jolene raises her glass.

                          JOLENE
           To Skeeter...and her job. Last
           stop `til marriage.
          Hilly kicks Jolene under the table.

           12.

                         

                          SKEETER
           The Miss Myrna column. Have y'all
           read it?

                          HILLY
           Well, no! But, I bet the poor
           girls without any help, in South
           Jackson, read it like the King
           James.
          Everyone laughs. Skeeter's forehead crinkles.

                          SKEETER
           Elizabeth, would you mind if I talk
           to Aibileen? To help me answer
           some of the letters? Just until I
           get a knack for it.
          Aibileen clears dishes as if she hasn't heard a thing.
          Elizabeth gets very still.

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen? My Aibileen? What can't
           you just get Constantine to help
           you?
          Skeeter looks to her lap and shakes her head.

                          SKEETER
           Constantine...quit us.

                          ELIZABETH HILLY
          What?! Oh, my gosh!
          Skeeter nods her head sadly.

                          HILLY
           I'm so sorry, Skeeter.

                          SKEETER
           I really don't want to talk about
           it. Okay?
          The girls nod.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Anyway...I don't know how to answer
           these letters.
          Elizabeth looks to Aibileen.

                          ELIZABETH
           Well...I mean as long as it doesn't
           interfere with her work.
          A phone rings. Elizabeth nods to Aibileen.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

          Aibileen rushes in the kitchen and answers the phone.

           13.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Leefolt residence.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE (INTERCUT) - KITCHEN - SAME TIME


                         CLOSE ON:
          Pink, fuzzy slippers anchoring bare, sexy legs stand on a
          black and white check floor.

           CELIA FOOTE (O.C.)
           Ah-hem. Hello, is Elizabeth in?
          Rising up a slim torso, sizeable cleavage bursts out of a
          pink robe's collar.

                          AIBILEEN
           She having bridge club right now.
           May I take a message?
          CELIA FOOTE, 28, peroxide blonde, stands in all her country
          girl glory.
          She speaks with a thick, unrefined, Southern accent, mired in
          insecurity.

                          CELIA
           Please tell her Celia Foote called
           again. I'll call back tomorrow.

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.
          Celia nervously twists herself around in the phone cord.

                          CELIA
           Ah-hem. Miss?
          "Miss" strikes Aibileen as very odd.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           I'm looking for some help at my
           house. You know any maids looking?

                          AIBILEEN
           No, ma'am.

                          CELIA FOOTE
           Okay. Celia Foote. Emerson 6-8-4.
           Bye, now.
          Celia hands up the phone with a frown and sips from a coca-
          cola bottle.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen enters the living room with a coffee pot.

           14.

                         

                          ELIZABETH
           Who was that on the phone?

                          AIBILEEN
           Miss Celia Foote called again.
          Elizabeth leans over and touches Hilly's arm.

                          ELIZABETH
           I've never called her back, Hilly.

                          HILLY
           She can't take a hint, can she?

                          JOLENE
           Who's Celia Foote?

                          HILLY
           That tacky girl Johnny married.

                          ELIZABETH
           Girl? I heard she's twenty-eight.

                          JOLENE
           Oh my God!

                          HILLY
           Uh-hmm, worked concessions at a LSU
           game and sold him a hotdog. And,
           boy, he got a whole lot more.
          All the girls laugh.

                          SKEETER
           Could have been you, Hilly.

                          HILLY
           And live thirty minutes outside of
           town? Anyway, I ran into her at
           the beauty parlor, and she had the
           nerve to ask if she could help with
           the children's benefit.

                          SKEETER
           Aren't we taking non-members? The
           benefit's gotten so big.

                          HILLY
           Yes, but we're not telling her.
          Everyone laughs but Skeeter. Aibileen pours Skeeter a cup of
          coffee. Skeeter looks up decidedly and smiles.

                          SKEETER
           Thank you, Aibileen.
          Hilly begins squirming in her seat, obviously making a point.
          Elizabeth leans over.

                          ELIZABETH
           Oh, Hilly, I wish you'd just go use
           the bathroom.

           15.

                         

                          HILLY
           Ah-hem. I'm fine.
          Missus Walters shouts out from the sofa.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           She's upset cause the nigra uses
           the guest bath, and so do we.
          Elizabeth turns to Aibileen.

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen, go check on Mae Mobley.
          Aibileen disappears. Elizabeth leans into Hilly.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           Just go use mine and Raleigh's.
          Hilly hiss-whispers.

                          HILLY
           If Aibileen uses the guest
           bathroom, I'm sure she uses yours
           too.

                          ELIZABETH

           SHE DOES NOT!
          Aibileen turns the corner in the hall and stops.

                          HILLY
           Wouldn't you rather them take their
           business outside?
          Skeeter sees a reflection of Aibileen listening off of a
          picture in the hall. Skeeter tries to change the subject.

                          SKEETER
           Did y'all see the cover of "Life"
           this week? Jackie's never looked

                          MORE REGAL-

                          HILLY
           -Tell Raleigh every penny he spends
           on a colored's bathroom, he'll get
           back in spades when y'all sell.
           It's just plain dangerous.
           Everybody knows they carry
           different diseases than we do. I
           double.
          Elizabeth takes a puff of her cigarette and fidgets with her
          cards.

                          ELIZABETH
           I can't ask Raleigh until tax
           season. But, it would be nice.

                          HILLY
           That's why I've drafted The Home
           Help Sanitation Initiative.

           16.

                         

                          SKEETER
           "The Home"...the what?!

                          HILLY
           As a disease preventative bill that
           requires every white home to have a
           separate bathroom for the colored
           help. I've even notified the
           Surgeon General of Mississippi.
           I'll pass.
          Skeeter again glances at Aibileen. Their eyes meet.

                          SKEETER
           Maybe we ought to just build you a
           bathroom outside, Hilly.
          The room grows eerily quiet.

                          HILLY
           You ought not to joke about the
           colored situation.
          Hilly leans in toward Skeeter.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           I'll do whatever it takes to
           protect our town. Your lead,
           Jolene.
          Jolene suddenly looks to a wall clock. She jumps up and
          throws her cards to the table.

                          JOLENE
           I have to skedaddle! Gotta get
           over to the station!

                          (EXCITEDLY)
           Daddy's letting me do the weather
           tonight!

                         

          EXT. FOOTE ESTATE - BACKYARD - SAME DAY

          Celia delicately prunes two rosebushes. Her long pink
          fingernails wrap easily around a pair of sheers.
          As Celia stands back to admire her work, We widen to see the
          Foote estate. Ancient oaks dripping in Spanish moss surround
          a perfectly manicured lawn. "Tara" pales in comparison.
          Oddly, the two rosebushes have been planted in the center of
          the lawn, jeopardizing the Antebellum Feng Shui.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Now, Miss Celia had her a man.
           `Bout the best lookin' man in all
           of Mississippi. But, no baby and
           no friends.
          JOHNNY FOOTE, 23, Celia's ridiculously handsome husband,
          sneaks up behind her as he removes his jacket and tie.

           17.

                         

                          JOHNNY
           Roses look like weeds next to you.
          Celia turns with a yelp. She slaps him playfully.

                          CELIA
           Johnny, you scared the daylights
           out of me!
          Johnny begins kissing her neck.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           You're home early.
          Celia pushes him back.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           Johnny, I can't get any of your old
           friends from school to call me
           back.

                          JOHNNY
           Oh, who cares, honey. We got all
           we need right here.
          Johnny kisses her again and lowers her to the grass.

                          CELIA
           Johnny, honestly!

                          JOHNNY
           Doctor's orders.
          Johnny starts kissing Celia's breasts. She becomes uneasy
          and rolls out from under him.

                          CELIA
           I don't know what's taking us so
           long. I'm sorry.
          Johnny brushes hair from Celia's face.

                          JOHNNY
           Hey, we've never done it in the
           yard. Maybe that's the trick.
          Celia seductively bites her lower lip.

                          CELIA
           Watch my hair.
          Johnny's hand slides up her thigh.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - LATER THAT DAY

          Bridge over, Skeeter smokes while watching through a window
          as Minny arrives in Hilly's car. Skeeter blows smoke toward
          Hilly and Elizabeth saying good-bye.

           18.

                         
          A sermon plays over an old AM radio nestled between
          canisters of sugar and flour.
          Aibileen enters with a stack of dirty coffee cups.

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen?
          Aibileen becomes nervous at the sight of Skeeter alone.

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.

                          SKEETER
           I had hoped to ask you myself if
           you could help me with the "Miss
           Myrna" letters...

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.

                          SKEETER
           So...Would you help me?
          Aibileen nods and looks out to Elizabeth on the street.

                          AIBILEEN
           Miss Myrna gets it wrong lotta
           times. Be good to get it right.

                          SKEETER
           Thank you, Aibileen. I plan on
           splitting the pay with you, too.
          Aibileen doesn't respond. She grabs a basket of rolls.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Listen...all that talk in there
           today. Hilly's talk I mean...I'm
           sorry you had to hear that.
          Aibileen quickly turns her back to Skeeter. A gospel choir
          begins singing on the radio.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Is that Preacher Green's sermon on
           the radio?

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am, it is.

                          SKEETER
           That reminds me so much of my maid
           growing up.
          Aibileen starts wiping down a serving tray.

                          AIBILEEN
           Constantine and me...were in church
           circle together.

           19.

                         
          Skeeter turns to Aibileen as she puts out her cigarette.

                          SKEETER
           She loved me like you love Mae
           Mobley.

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.
          Skeeter moves closer to Aibileen.

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen? How could she just quit
           like that?
          Aibileen stops wiping and looks up to Skeeter...

                          AIBILEEN
           Quit?

                          SKEETER
           Yes. When I got home from school
           last week, Momma said she had quit.
           Back in March to go live with her
           people up in Chicago. She didn't
           leave me a note or anything.
          Aibileen turns and resumes wiping the tray.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Could you do that to Mae Mobley?
          Aibileen slowly turns back to Skeeter.

                          AIBILEEN
           No, ma'am. I couldn't...

                          SKEETER
           Do you have an address for her or
           anything?
          Aibileen shrugs her shoulders, reeling it all back in.
          Just then, Elizabeth walks into the kitchen holding papers
          stapled together. She looks between Aibileen and Skeeter.

                          ELIZABETH
           I'm sorry. Did I interrupt
           something?
          Skeeter and Aibileen shake their heads.
          Elizabeth hands Skeeter the papers. Home Help Sanitation
          Initiative is written on the cover.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           Hilly wants this put in the League
           newsletter.
          Skeeter nods.

           20.

                         

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen, I'll drop by at ten
           tomorrow to get started on Miss
           Myrna.
          Elizabeth looks at Aibileen.

                          ELIZABETH
           Tomorrow is silver polishing day,
           so y'all make it quick, okay?

                         

          EXT. COUNTRY ROAD - LATER THAT DAY

          Skeeter speeds down a country road lined with ancient oak
          trees in a white Cadillac.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           I knew I had said too much to Miss
           Skeeter, but Constantine's story
           weren't mine to tell. Some things
           a girl shouldn't have to know about
           her own mother.
          Her frizzy hair swirls about as she passes a truck full of
          cotton.

                         

          INT. CADILLAC (FANTASY SEQUENCE) - SAME TIME

          Skeeter looks ahead and sees an OLDER BLACK WOMAN walking
          with a LITTLE BLONDE GIRL, 6. They hold hands.
          The black woman smiles and waves as Skeeter passes. When
          Skeeter looks in her rear view mirror, they're gone.
          Skeeter suddenly stops the car just short of an intersecting
          gravel road.
          Skeeter slowly turns down the old road.

                         

          EXT. CONSTANTINE'S HOUSE - DAY

          Skeeter's car pulls into the overgrown yard of an old shack
          with a rusted-out tin roof.
          Two clapboard rooms are separated by an open breezeway. The
          front door is cracked opened.
          Skeeter gets out and walks toward Constantine's home.

                         

          INT. CONSTANTINE'S HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter enters to find only a small bed, dresser, table,
          rocking chair and a wood burning stove.
          Past intruders have long since taken anything of value.

           21.

                         
          As Skeeter approaches Constantine's bed, an OPOSSUM scurries
          out from underneath.
          Skeeter screams as the opossum runs out the door. Her eyes
          suddenly catch something.
          Lying on the bed is an OLD CORN PIPE.
          Skeeter picks it up and brings it to her face. Her eyes
          begin to well up.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter pulls in front of a grand antebellum home and parks
          to the side of her family's graveyard.
          Skeeter carries her black dress up the stairs of a covered
          porch.
          An old black man with white hair, JAMESO, 70, tightens a
          porch swing.

                          SKEETER
           Hey, Jameso.

                          JAMESO
           Hello, Miss Eugenia.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - ENTRY FOYER - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter walks through the front door.

                          SKEETER
           Momma!
          If the Smithsonian had wished to assemble the perfect
          antebellum home, Skeeter would be standing in it.

                         

          INT. PHELAN HOME - PARENTS' BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter enters and looks around curiously at an ARRAY OF WIGS
          resting atop a dresser.

                          SKEETER
           Momma?
          Skeeter's mother, CHARLOTTE BOUDREAU CANTELLE PHELAN, 50,
          glides into the room wearing a wig. Her floral print dress
          has a gazillion perfectly pressed pleats.
          Charlotte turns to a mirror and adjusts an auburn-colored,
          `pixie' cut.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Is this a little too young?

                          SKEETER
           It's a little too everything.

           22.

                         
          Charlotte removes the wig with a sigh. Only now do we
          realize her decision to wear wigs isn't elective. Thinning
          hair detracts from her perfectly made up face.
          Charlotte puts on a classic bouffant/flip in dark brown.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Much better.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Your daddy bought me this dress in

           `58.

                          SKEETER
           Mom, I want to ask you about

                          CONSTANTINE-

                          CHARLOTTE
           -Right after Ole Miss won the Sugar
           Bowl.
          Charlotte unzips the dress and takes it off.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Come on, you try it on.

                          SKEETER
           What really happened?
          Charlotte winces with pain and grasps her stomach.

                          CHARLOTTE
           I told you...she went to live with
           her people in Chicago...Now,
           Skeeter, your mother is dying, and
           she wants to see you in this dress.
          Charlotte stands in her slip and bra holding the dress.
          Skeeter begins taking off her clothes.

                          SKEETER
           How could she just take off without
           telling me?

                          CHARLOTTE
           I told her not to write you. I
           didn't want you upset in the middle
           of final exams. Honey, we were
           just a job to her. With them it's
           all about money...Did I tell you
           Fanny Peatrow got engaged? After
           she got that teller job, her mother
           said she was just swimming in
           proposals.

                          SKEETER
           Good for "Fat Fanny Peatrow."
          She lowers the dress over Skeeter's head and zips it.

           23.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           This looks precious on you! Four
           years ago my daughter went off to
           college, and what did she come home
           with?

                          SKEETER CHARLOTTE
          A diploma. A pretty piece of paper.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Hilly and Elizabeth have such
           lovely children.

                          SKEETER
           They dropped out of college to
           become housewives, Mother.

                          CHARLOTTE
           If only you'd show a little
           gumption, Eugenia...

                          SKEETER
           Well, I did get a job today.

                          CHARLOTTE
           You did?

                          SKEETER
           Writing...for The Jackson Journal.
          Charlotte plumps up the dress around Skeeter's behind.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Great. You can write my obituary.
           "Charlotte Phelan dead. Her
           daughter still single."

                          SKEETER
           Momma, would it really be so
           terrible if I never met a husband?
          With that, Charlotte grabs Skeeter's hand and takes her to a
          love seat. They sit. This is serious.

                          CHARLOTTE
           I need to...ask you something,
           Skeeter. I read the other day
           about how some girls...get
           unbalanced, start thinking
           these...well, unnatural thoughts.
          Charlotte begins to twist the handkerchief she holds.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Are you...do you...find men
           attractive? Are you having
           unnatural thoughts about...
          Charlotte shuts her eyes tight.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Girls or...or women?

           24.

                         

                          SKEETER
           Oh my God!

                          CHARLOTTE
           Because, this article says there's
           a cure, a special root tea.
          Skeeter jumps up.

                          SKEETER
           Mother, I want to be with girls as
           much as you wanna be with Jameso.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Eugenia!
          Skeeter storms out of the room.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)

                          (SHOUTING)
           Carlton's bringing Rebecca to
           dinner. Try to look presentable!

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - DINING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          The Phelan dining room is lit solely by candles.
          The Phelan's new maid, PASCAGOLUA, 40, rolls a cart of
          casseroles around the table.
          Charlotte sits at the head of the table. She's having a bowl
          of broth.
          Skeeter sits next to her Father, ROBERT PHELAN, 60.
          Skeeter's brother, CARLTON, 25, sits next to his fianc�,
          REBECCA, 21. They're perfectly groomed with Hollywood good
          looks.

                          CARLTON
           What the hell do you know about
           cleaning a house, Skeeter?

                          SKEETER
           It's a start, Carlton.

                          CARLTON

                          (MOCKINGLY)
           I thought you wanted to write
           books.

                          ROBERT
           Leave your sister alone, Son. I'm
           proud of you, Sweetheart.
          Charlotte scoops up some broth with a spoon.

           25.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           Oh, the irony of it all. Givin'
           advice on how to keep up a home
           when she...
          Charlotte's spoon goes in her mouth.
          Pascagolua tries to scoop some sort of casserole covered in
          almonds onto Skeeter's plate. Skeeter stops her.

                          SKEETER
           Oh! No, Pascagolua! You couldn't
           have known this...But, see, I'm
           allergic to almonds.

                          PASCAGOLUA
           Sorry, Miss Eugenia.

                          SKEETER
           Last time I had an almond, I
           stopped liking men.
          Charlotte glares at Skeeter. Carlton lets out a chuckle.
          Rebecca is mortified.

                          REBECCA
           Oh my Lord.

                          SKEETER
           It's okay, Rebecca. They have a
           special root tea now.

                          CHARLOTTE
           You have pushed it, Young Lady!
          Pascagolua scurries off. Skeeter turns to her father...

                          SKEETER
           Daddy, what happened to
           Constantine?
          The room grows silent. Carlton looks down to his plate.

                          ROBERT
           Ah...well, Constantine went to live
           with her family. People move on,
           Skeeter. But I do wish she'd
           stayed down here with us.

                          SKEETER
           I don't believe you.
          Skeeter looks to her mother who immediately busies herself
          with scooping up more broth.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Mother, did you...fire her?

                          CHARLOTTE
           You wouldn't understand. Not until
           you've hired help of your own.

           26.

                         

                          SKEETER
           She raised me!
          Charlotte slaps the table and stands.

                          CHARLOTTE

           SHE DID NOT!
          Skeeter's eyes fill with tears...

                          SKEETER
           She worked here for twenty-nine
           years.
          Charlotte presses both hands to her stomach.

                          CHARLOTTE
           It was a colored thing, and I've
           put it behind me.
          Charlotte passes behind Rebecca and kisses her head.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Excuse me, Rebecca. My daughter
           has upset my cancerous ulcers.
          As Charlotte leaves the room, Rebecca looks at Skeeter like
          she's the worst person on earth.
          Skeeter gets up and storms off into the entry foyer.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION (FLASHBACK) - ENTRY FOYER - NIGHT

          Skeeter, 13 and lanky, wears a party dress. Despite a tight
          bun, her strong-willed hair has started to frizz.
          Skeeter's father and brother race down the stairs with
          suitcases. Carlton wears a varsity sweater.

                          SKEETER
           Good luck down there, Carlton.

                          CARLTON
           Have fun at the dance, Skeeter
           Legs.
          Robert and Carlton race outside as Charlotte enters, healthy
          and glowing.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Eugenia! You've grown another inch
           since breakfast. Go put on a dress
           that fits before that boy and his
           daddy come pick you up.
          A horn blows. Charlotte kisses Skeeter on the cheek and then
          looks over to CONSTANTINE, 50.

           27.

                         
          Constantine stands tall. Her skin is black as night. Her
          eyes have a striking honey colored hue to them. She wears a
          white sleeping gown.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Pray Carlton doesn't like LSU,
           Constantine. It's so far. It
           might be the last we see of him.
          The horn blows again. Charlotte is out the door.
          Skeeter turns to Constantine who is all smiles.

                          CONSTANTINE
           Gone be just you and me all
           weekend.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION (FLASHBACK) - PATIO - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter sits at a picnic table smoking a cigarette.
          Constantine smokes tobacco out of a corn pipe.

                          SKEETER
           I just couldn't tell her I didn't
           get asked to the dance.

                          CONSTANTINE
           Some things we should just keep to
           ourselves.
          Skeeter looks down to her long, bony legs.

                          SKEETER
           I'm already taller than the boys'
           basketball coach. How tall are
           you, Constantine?

                          CONSTANTINE
           I'm five-thirteen, so quit feeling
           sorry for yourself.

                          SKEETER
           Momma was third runner up in the
           Miss South Carolina pageant.

                          CONSTANTINE
           "Miss" what? Shoot, Child! You
           gone be "Miss Something Better."
          Constantine grabs Skeeter's hand and presses her thumb firmly
          to her palm.

                          CONSTANTINE (CONT'D)
           Now you listen. Your momma didn't
           pick her life. It pick her, and she
           done even know it. You gone do
           something big with yours. Bigger
           than your momma or your brother.
          Constantine lets go of Skeeter's palm and wipes a tear from
          her face.

           28.

                         

                          SKEETER
           What about you? What did you want
           to be, Constantine?
          Constantine laughs.

                          CONSTANTINE
           Oh, Child! We don't get to pick.
           This pick us, and that just how it
           is.
          Tight on Skeeter's face as Constantine gives her a big hug.

                         

          INT. PHELEN PLANTATION - SKEETER'S BEDROOM - NEXT MORNING

          Skeeter lies in bed staring holes into the ceiling as a
          rooster announces the morning.
          A sudden revelation washes over her. In a flash, Skeeter is
          out of bed and running down the stairs.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Pascagoula tends to a skillet full of eggs next to a black
          and white TV resting on the counter.

          CLOSE ON TELEVISION:
          Jolene French attempts to deliver the weather on WLBT.

                          JOLENE
           Sunny skies and a high of ninety-
           eight today with ninety-nine
           percent humidity. There's a slight
           chance of afternoon showers so
           y'all carry an umbrella.
          Jolene pivots to camera, lowers her chin and smiles.
          Skeeter runs past Pascagoula with a phone and disappears
          inside the pantry.

                         

          INT. HARPER AND ROW PUBLISHING - OFFICE - NEW YORK - LATER

          ELAINE STEIN, 45, hard but stylish, talks on the phone in a
          large corner office. She lights a cigarette and swivels her
          chair toward the Manhattan skyline.

                          MISS STEIN
           What gave you this idea, Miss
           Phelan? I'm...curious.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION (INTERCUT) - PANTRY - SAME TIME

          Skeeter sits on a huge sack of flour. A millennium's supply
          of can goods fills the shelves.

           29.

                         

                          SKEETER
           I was...well, I was raised by a
           colored woman. I've seen how
           simple it can be and...well, how
           complex it can be, too...between
           the families and the help.

                          MISS STEIN
           Continue.

                          SKEETER
           I'd like to write something from
           the point of view of the help.
           These colored women raise white
           children, and then twenty years
           later those children become the
           employer. It's that irony, Miss
           Stein, that we love them and they
           love us yet...we don't even let
           them use the toilet in the house.
          Miss Stein's swivels her chair back around and sits up.

                          MISS STEIN
           I'm listening.

                          SKEETER
           Margaret Mitchell glorified the
           mammy figure who dedicates her
           whole life to a white family but no
           one...ever asked Mammy how she felt
           about it. There is both undisguised
           hate for white women and an
           inexplicable love, but nobody ever
           talks about it down here.

                          MISS STEIN
           So, a side to this never before
           heard.

                          SKEETER
           Yes!
          Charlotte knocks on the pantry door.

           CHARLOTTE (O.C.)
           Skeeter, who are you talking to in
           there?
          Skeeter covers the mouth piece and opens the door.

                          SKEETER
           Go! Away!
          Skeeter slams the door.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           So, yes, their side of the story.
          Skeeter leans back against the shelves.

           30.

                         

                          MISS STEIN
           Who was that?

                          SKEETER
           My mother. She just dropped by to-

                          MISS STEIN
           Look, no maid in her right mind
           would ever tell you the truth.
           That's a hell of a risk in a place
           like Jackson, Mississippi. I
           watched them try to integrate your
           bus station on the news. Oy! They
           jammed fifty-five Negroes in a jail
           built for four.
          Skeeter panics.

                          SKEETER
           I already have a maid.
          Skeeter can't believe what just came out of her mouth. Miss
          Stein rises and sits on the edge of her desk.

                          MISS STEIN
           Really? A negro maid has already
           agreed to talk to you?
          Skeeter blinks hard. No turning back now.

                          SKEETER
           Yes, ma'am...

                          MISS STEIN
           Well...I suppose I could read what
           you come up with. The book biz
           could use a little rattling.

                          SKEETER
           You'd do that?

                          MISS STEIN
           I'm saying I'll let you know if
           it's even worth pursuing.

                          SKEETER
           Oh, thank you, Miss Stein!

                          MISS STEIN
           And for God's sake, you're a twenty-
           four-year-old educated woman. Go
           get an apartment.
          She hangs up.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - LATER THAT DAY

          Skeeter sits across the table from Aibileen, reading the
          `Miss Myrna' letters.

           31.

                         
          Outside, winds howl, and the sky grows dark. Jolene's
          forecast appears to be a bit off.

                          SKEETER
           "Dear Miss Myrna, How do I remove
           the rings from my fat, slovenly
           husband's shirt collar when he is
           such a pig and sweats like one
           too..."

                          AIBILEEN
           Which one she want a get rid of?
           Them rings or the husband?
          Skeeter chuckles and shrugs her shoulders.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Tell her a vinegar and Pine-Sol
           soak. Then let it set in the sun a
           bit.
          Skeeter writes this down.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Bout an hour. Let it dry.
          Skeeter keeps writing. Aibileen notices something outside.
          Hilly walks into the Leefolt backyard with her son, BILLY, 3,
          perched on her hip.
          A CONTRACTOR, 30s, follows holding a set of plans.
          Skeeter turns to the open window. It's already started to
          sprinkle outside.

                          HILLY
           Build it just like the one at my
           house, right against the garage.
          The contractor nods. Lightning strikes, thunder cracks.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Oh, mercy!
          Hilly is off and running with Billy. Skeeter seizes the
          moment.

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen, do you ever wish you
           could...change things?
          Aibileen turns slowly from the window.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I mean, all that talk yesterday and
           now with what Hilly's up to.
          Aibileen's eyes fall to the floor.

           32.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Everthing's fine.

                          SKEETER
           My momma fired Constantine. Thank
           you for telling me that.

                          AIBILEEN
           I never tolt you that!
          Aibileen jumps up as another crack of thunder sounds out.

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen, I have an
           idea...Something I want to write
           about...But I need your help.
          Skeeter rises.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I want to interview you...about
           what it is like to work as a maid.
          Aibileen stops at the refrigerator, gripping the life out of
          its handle.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I'd like to do a book of interviews
           about working for white families.
           Show what it's like to work for,
           say...Elizabeth.
          Aibileen begins to perspire. She grabs the counter to steady
          herself, then moves toward her chair.

                          AIBILEEN
           You know what'd happen to me if
           Miss Leefolt knew I was tellin'
           stories on her?

                          SKEETER
           I was thinking we wouldn't tell
           her. The other maids will have to
           keep it secret, too.

                          AIBILEEN
           Other maids?

                          SKEETER
           I was hoping to get four or five.
           To really show what it's like in
           Jackson. To see what y'all get
           paid, the babies, the bathrooms,
           the good and the bad.
          Aibileen shakes her head.

                          AIBILEEN
           They set my cousin Shinelle's car
           on fire just cause she went down to
           the voting station.

           33.

                         

                          SKEETER
           A book has never been written like
           this, Aibileen.

                          AIBILEEN
           `Cause they's a reason. I do this
           with you, I might as well burn my
           own house down.
          Bam! The front door slams shut.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME (INTERCUT) - LIVING ROOM - SAME TIME

          Soaking wet, Elizabeth and her husband, RALEIGH, 25, stand
          toe to toe.

                          RALEIGH
           I put up with the new clothes and
           all the damn trips to New Orleans,
           but this takes the goddamn cake!

                          ELIZABETH
           It'll confuse Mae Mobley if she
           sees Aibileen going inside. And we
           can't risk her health.

                         KITCHEN:
          Aibileen hears Mae Mobley crying, but she is frozen.

                         LIVING ROOM:

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           Hilly spoke to the Surgeon General!
           She also said it'll add value to
           our home!

                          RALEIGH
           Great! Mae Mobley can just go to
           college in that bathroom, too.

                          ELIZABETH
           Honey, Hilly's covering the
           cost...and said you can just do
           William's taxes to pay her back.

                          RALEIGH
           We don't take orders from the
           Holbrooks!

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

          Raleigh storms in and is surprised to see Skeeter.

                          RALEIGH
           Skeeter? How you doing?

                          SKEETER
           Fine.

           34.

                         

                          RALEIGH
           Fix me a sandwich, Aibileen.
          Raleigh storms out as Elizabeth charges into the kitchen.

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen, Mae Mobley's crying her
           eyes out!
          Aibileen runs off. Elizabeth sees Skeeter and tries to
          compose herself.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           Skeeter...Hello. I'm sorry but I
           think it's best if you leave now.
          Skeeter gathers her things.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           And...I don't think this Miss Myrna
           thing is gonna work out with
           Aibileen.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - DEN - LATER THAT DAY

          The storm has escalated. The Holbrook house is without
          power. Hilly runs around lighting candles.
          Missus Walters lies on the couch while Minny fans her with a
          newspaper.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           You're making it a lot hotter
           flapping your arm like that.
          Minny stops and begins squirming with discomfort. Missus
          Walters notices her looking out to the garage bathroom.
          Lightning strikes. Leaves blow across the yard. Hilly plops
          down in a chair with a candle.

                          HILLY
           That should do it. Minny, go get
           me and Momma some iced tea.
          Minny hesitates. She gulps.

                          MINNY
           Uh...Miss Hilly?

                          HILLY
           Yes.

                          MINNY
           Never mind.
          As Minny turns, Missus Walters calls out to her.

           35.

                         

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           You go on ahead and use the guest
           bath, Minny. It's okay.

                          HILLY
           Oh, for crying out loud. It's just
           a little rain. She can go get an
           umbrella up in William's Study!

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           I believe she was working for me
           before you dragged us both here.
          Minny looks outside just as wind slams an aluminum lawn chair
          against the garage bathroom.
          Boom! Another crash of thunder. Large hail stones begin
          falling in the yard.

                          MINNY
           I'm gone get your tea.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - BATHROOM - SECONDS LATER

          Minny sneaks into the guest bath with a candle and shuts the
          door. She carefully lowers the seat and sits. Relief
          spreads across her face.
          There's a knock on the door. She freezes.

           HILLY (O.C.)
           Minny?
          Minny panics, staying completely quiet.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE (INTERCUT) - HALLWAY - CONTINUOUS

          Hilly leans into the bathroom door.

                          HILLY
           MINNYYYY, are you in there?

                          MINNY
           Yes, ma'am...

                          HILLY
           Are you sitting down?
          Minny gets up quickly and flushes the toilet. Hilly beats on
          the door.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)

           GET OFF OF MY TOILET!!!
          Outside the house, an eerie, groaning sound, much like a
          freight train, intensifies.
          The top of a huge tree snaps off and falls against the house,
          shattering a window.

           36.

                         
          Minny crouches down and covers her head. A draft sucks the
          candle's flame toward the bottom of the door.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - MAE MOBLEY'S ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen sits with Mae Mobley against an interior wall,
          holding a mattress on top of them and humming in her ear.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           On top a Minny losin' her tenth
           job, eighteen people died in
           Jackson that day. Ten white.
           Eight black.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - SAME TIME

          Skeeter stands in her backyard facing Jackson. Cool winds
          head toward the dark, swirling horizon.
          In the distance, lightning strikes.

                         

          EXT. FOOTE ESTATE - FRONT PORCH - SAME TIME

          Celia leans on the porch railing, gazing helplessly as the
          relentless hail storm pummels her two rosebushes.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           God don't pay no mind to color or
           class once he sets a tornado loose.
          Within seconds, the rose blossoms are gone.

                         

          INT/EXT. BATHROOM/BACKYARD (INTERCUT) - THREE MONTHS LATER

          Aibileen uses the newly completed bathroom Hilly has built in
          the garage. The walls consist of unpainted plywood with a
          small window hugging the ceiling.
          Beads of sweat glisten on Aibileen's forehead under a single
          bulb hanging above.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Soon after, that bitter seed inside
           of me had sprout and was growing
           fast...
          Well into her second pregnancy, Elizabeth exits the house
          with Mae Mobley at her side. She wears an awful, homemade
          maternity dress.

                          ELIZABETH
           Hurry, Aibileen. Mae Mobley's up,
           and I'm off to the doctor.
          Aibileen reaches behind and flushes the toilet. Mae Mobley
          gets excited and points to the garage bathroom.

           37.

                         

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Aibee bafroom, Momma!
          Mae Mobley walks toward the bathroom and calls out.

           MAE MOBLEY (CONT'D)
           Aibee?
          Elizabeth grabs her and forces her down on the back step.

                          ELIZABETH
           No!

                          AIBILEEN
           Be right there, Baby Girl.
          Aibileen pulls up her panty-hose.

                         

          EXT. BUS STOP - LATER THAT AFTERNOON

          Aibileen waits with YULE MAY, 45, as well as other maids and
          black males at a bus stop. Yule May is tall, pretty and
          graceful. Her hair is pulled tightly into a bun.
          Skeeter walks down the sidewalk toward them. She and
          Aibileen catch eyes. Skeeter waves.
          Yule May inches away from Aibileen. One BLACK MAN in
          particular looks with concern as Skeeter walks up.

                          SKEETER
           Afternoon, Aibileen.
          Aibileen nods nervously, looking at the other domestics.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Can I talk to you?
          A bus pulls up.

                          AIBILEEN
           You got some "Miss Myrna" questions
           for me?

                          SKEETER
           No.
          Yule May and others board. Skeeter grabs Aibileen's arm.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Please.
          Aibileen signals to Yule May to go on ahead without her.

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.
          The bus pulls away.

           38.

                         

                          SKEETER
           Please let me interview you. I
           know it's scary, but I really
           believe this has to be done. We'll
           be careful.

                          AIBILEEN
           This already ain't careful, Miss
           Skeeter. You not knowing that is
           what scares me most. I'm sorry.
          Skeeter hands Aibileen a piece of paper with her phone number
          written on it. Aibileen turns and walks off down the
          sidewalk.

                         

          EXT. BUS STOP - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Dark outside, Aibileen approaches another, more integrated
          bus stop.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           I know pretty well what happens if
           the white ladies found out we was
           writing about them. Womens, they
           ain't like men. Women don`t beat
           you with a stick. Naw, they like
           to keep they hands clean. Got a
           shiny set a tools they use, sharp
           as witches' fingernails.
          As Aibileen ambles toward a bench, TWO WHITE WOMEN in nurse
          uniforms push in front of her and sit.

                         

          INT. MISSISSIPPI LAW LIBRARY - NEXT MORNING

          Skeeter sits at a long table surrounded by books piled high
          as if to provide a shield of sorts.
          Lying before her, is an old, thin, onionskin booklet curling
          at the edges. It's titled:
           "Compilation of Jim Crow Laws of the South"
          Skeeter opens the booklet and begins reading.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Any person printing, publishing or
           circulating written matter urging
           for public acceptance of social
           equality between whites and negroes
           is subject to imprisonment.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOME - KITCHEN - NIGHT

          Aibileen sits at a table wearing a nightgown. She carefully
          combs and styles her wig for work in the morning.
          Her real hair is bound tightly in dozens of tightly bound
          nubs.

           39.

                         
          The rotary wall phone rings. Aibileen hangs the wig on her
          chair and answers.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S HOUSE (INTERCUT) - HALLWAY - SAME TIME

          Minny is hysterical.

                          MINNY
           Oh, Aibileen! I went and did it
           now!
          Minny wraps a hand up in the phone cord.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Miss Hilly been tellin' everbody in
           town I stole a candelabra! That's
           why I can't get no job.

                          AIBILEEN
           Everbody know you honest, Minny.

                          MINNY
           Oh, but I got her back...I did
           something awful, Aibileen.

                          AIBILEEN
           What you did?!

                         

          EXT. HOLBROOK HOUSE (FLASHBACK) - DAY

          Minny stands on Hilly's porch holding a chocolate pie.

           MINNY (O.S.)
           I cain't tell! I ain't tellin'
           nobody! I done a terrible awful
           thing to that woman. And now she
           knows what I did!
          Hilly answers the door and snarls at Minny. Minny presents
          the pie and says "I am sorry."
          Hilly waves Minny inside.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S HOUSE - HALLWAY - MOMENTS LATER


                          MINNY
           She got what she deserve, Aibileen.
           But, now I ain't gone never get no
           work again...Leroy gone kill me.
          Minny's husband, LEROY, 40, approaches behind Minny. Minny
          slowly turns...

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - CONTINUOUS

          Aibileen hears a loud slap and Minny's phone dropping to the
          floor. Yelling and screaming follows.

           40.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Minny!
          She can't bear to listen and hangs up the phone. She sees
          Skeeter's phone number taped to the wall.
          Aibileen's breath becomes heavy. Anger wells inside her.
          She picks up the phone again and begins to dial.

                         

          EXT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - NEXT NIGHT - DUSK

          Wearing a black scarf over her hair and clutching her red
          satchel, Skeeter approaches a small, one-story wood
          structure. White paint peels, hydrangeas fill the yard.
          Skeeter spies an old pickup truck parked on the side of
          Aibileen's house, completely covered in years of dust.
          Skeeter checks over her shoulder several times. The porch
          steps creak under her big feet.
          Aibileen quickly opens the door and waves her inside.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

          Aibileen wears the same yellow dress she wore in the first
          scene.

                          SKEETER
           I parked way up on State Street and
           caught a cab here like you asked.

                          AIBILEEN
           Got dropped two streets over?
          Skeeter nods.

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen, I now know it's against
           the law for us to meet like this.
          Skeeter stares Aibileen up and down. Aibileen self-
          consciously flattens our her dress.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I've never seen you out of uniform
           before. You look nice, Aibileen.

                          AIBILEEN
           Thank you.
          Aibileen motions for Skeeter to sit on a narrow sofa behind a
          coffee table covered in hand-tatted lace.
          A tray holds a teapot, two cups that don't match and cookies
          resting on folded napkins.
          As Aibileen pours the tea, her hand shakes.

           41.

                         

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           I'm sorry. I've never had a white
           person in my house before.
          Skeeter sips her tea.

                          SKEETER
           I've never been in a colored
           person's home before. I think
           we're both doing great. This tea
           is really nice.
          Aibileen watches as Skeeter takes a bite of the cookie.

                          AIBILEEN
           Miss Skeeter, What if...What if you
           don't like what I got to say?
           About white peoples?

                          SKEETER
           I...this isn't about my opinion.
           It doesn't matter how I feel.

                          AIBILEEN
           You gone have to change my name.
           Mine, Miss Leefolt's, everbody's.

                          SKEETER
           Everybody? So, you know other
           maids who might be interested?
          Aibileen is quiet for a moment. She shakes her head.

                          AIBILEEN
           It gone be hard.

                          SKEETER
           What about Minny?

                          AIBILEEN
           Minny got her some stories, sho
           nuff. But, she ain't real keen on
           talking to white peoples right now.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          We continue with the interview seen on page one.

                          SKEETER
           What does it feel like, to raise a
           white child when your own child's
           at home, being...looked after by
           somebody else?

                          AIBILEEN
           It feel...Uh.
          Aibileen glances up to the framed picture of Treelore.

                          SKEETER
           Is that your son?

           42.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am. He dead two years now.
           Got run over at the lumber yard.
           Lungs were crushed.

                          SKEETER
           I'm so sorry. That's horrible.
           And, Aibileen, you don't have to
           call me "ma'am." Not here anyway.
          Aibileen nods. Skeeter stares at her list of questions.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Do you want to talk about the
           bathroom? Or, about Elizab--Miss
           Leefolt? Anything about the way
           she pays you? Has she ever yelled
           at you in front of Mae Mobley?
          Aibileen shakes her head.

                          AIBILEEN
           I'm sorry, I-
          Aibileen covers her mouth with her hand. Skeeter becomes
          disgusted with herself.

                          SKEETER
           No, I am.
          She pulls out a stack of Miss Myrna letters.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Let's just do a couple of Miss
           Myrna letters, and I'll run on...

                          AIBILEEN
           I thought I might write my stories
           down and read them to you.

                          SKEETER
           Well, sure I guess.

                          AIBILEEN
           It no different than writing down
           my prayers.

                          SKEETER
           You don't say your prayers aloud?

                          AIBILEEN
           Prayer like electricity. It keep
           life going. Writing it down make
           it more powerful. Lot a ailing,
           sick peoples in this town.

                          SKEETER
           I'm sure.

                          AIBILEEN
           I didn't get a chance to pray for
           Treelore.

           43.

                         

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           God took him fast `cause he didn't
           want to argue with me. He was just
           twenty-four years old. The best
           part of a person's life.

                          SKEETER
           Oh, Aibileen.

                          AIBILEEN
           But he'd like we's doing this. He
           always said we gone have a writer
           in the family one day...After my
           prayers last night, I got some
           stories down too.
          Skeeter nods. Aibileen opens her notebook and reads.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           My first white baby to ever look
           after was named Alton Carrington
           Speers. It was 1938, and I'd just
           turned fourteen years old. Daddy
           had left us, so I dropped out a
           school to help momma with the
           bills.

                         

          INT. MOUNT ZION BABTIST CHURCH - MORNING

          A congregation of three hundred stand singing lively with the
          large choir.
          Aibileen stands next to Yule May and is whispering in her
          ear. Yule suddenly leans back, shocked, shaking her head
          "no."
          Minny watches from two pews back. Her curiosity is peaked.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Alton's momma died a lung disease.
           I loved that baby, and he loved me.
           That's when I learned I could make
           children feel proud of theyselves.

                         

          INT. HARPER AND ROW PUBLISHING - OFFICE - NEW YORK

          Miss Stein sits at her desk reading Aibileen's stories.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Alton used to always be asking me
           how come I's black...

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER


                          AIBILEEN
           It just ate him up, so one time I
           told him it cause I drank too much
           coffee. Oh, law, you should a seen
           his face.

           44.

                         
          Skeeter laughs as she writes down Aibileen's story.

                          SKEETER
           This is great. You have no idea
           how much I appreciate this...But I
           just have to ask. What changed
           your mind?

                          AIBILEEN

                          (WITHOUT PAUSE)
           Miss Hilly Holbrook.

                         

          INT. JUNIOR LEAGUE HEADQUARTERS - MORNING

          Hilly stands at a podium banging a gavel. The pleats of her
          navy blue sailor's number fan out like an accordion.
          A room full of JUNIOR LEAGUE MEMBERS sits up and quiets down.
          Half the girls are pregnant and most all drink TAB and are
          smoking. Skeeter sits in the back next to Elizabeth.

                          HILLY
           We're running behind on our "coat
           drive," girls. So hurry up and
           clean out those closets...But our
           Christmas Benefit, however, is
           right on schedule as y'all have
           already filled all our baked goods
           raffle slots.
          The girls applaud, turning to each other with praise.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Y'all think we can put a dent in
           the African Children's hunger this
           year?
          More applause. Those who aren't pregnant, stand. Hilly
          beams. Elizabeth nudges Skeeter out of her chair.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Now for some exciting news...I
           wanted y'all to be the first to
           know...My William is seeking
           election to the State Senate this
           November!
          Now, even the pregnant women stand. Elizabeth grabs
          Skeeter's arm and pulls herself up.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           He's runnin' on a platform of
           health. Protecting our children.
           Protecting our way of life. So, I,
           with William, have drafted The Home
           Health Sanitation Initiative.
          This sets off a room of whispers.

           45.

                         

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Skeeter, when can we expect to see
           the initiative in the newsletter?
           I gave it to you a month ago.
          Everyone turns to Skeeter. Elizabeth panics.

                          ELIZABETH
           I gave that to you myself!

                          SKEETER
           I, ah...Well, I-

                          HILLY
           Would you please stand, Skeeter?
          As Skeeter rises, several women shake their heads.

                          SKEETER
           I'll have it in there soon.
          Skeeter glances at the initiative tucked in her satchel.

                         

          EXT. LEAGUE HEADQUARTERS - PARKING LOT - LATER THAT DAY

          Skeeter turns a corner and sees Hilly leaning on her car.

                          SKEETER
           Hilly? Do you need a ride?
          Hilly shakes her head with little emotion.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I'm sorry about the newsletter.
          Hilly nods. A soft smile begins to form.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           With Momma being sick and-
          Hilly erupts with excitement.

                          HILLY
           He's coming! Oh, Skeeter, he's
           definitely coming this time. This
           Saturday night.

                          SKEETER
           Oh, Hilly, he's cancelled twice
           before. Maybe it's a sign.

                          HILLY
           Don't you dare say that!

                          SKEETER
           You know I won't be his type.
          Hilly grabs Skeeter by the shoulders.

           46.

                         

                          HILLY
           It's your time, Skeeter. And
           damnit, I'm not going to let you
           miss this just because your mother
           convinced you you're not good
           enough for somebody like him.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MORNING

          Minny is again wearing her maid's uniform. She puts two
          plates of food down on the kitchen table.
          She sits next to her daughter, SUGAR, 15. Sugar wears a
          brand-spanking-new maids's uniform.

                          MINNY
           Eat up, Girl. Miss Woodra's like
           to not feed ya on try-out day.
          Sugar takes a bite of toast.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           I still say you're too young to be
           waitin' on white peoples...Now,
           Sugar, I want you to listen to me,
           and you listen to me good.
          Minny grabs Sugar's face and looks her right in the eyes.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           These are the rules for working in
           a white lady's house.
          Sugar jerks her face away and sticks her lip out.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Rule Number One: Don't you ever let
           White Lady find you sittin' on her
           toilet.
          Sugar nods.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Number Two: You keep your nose out
           of White Lady's problems, and don't
           cry to her with yours. White
           people ain't your friends.

                         

          EXT. RURAL BUS STOP - LATER THAT MORNING

          Minny steps off a bus and walks down an old country road.

           MINNY (V.O.)
           Number Three: When you're cooking
           white food, taste it with a
           different spoon. They see you put
           the tasting spoon back in the pot,
           might as well throw it all out.
           Spoon, too.

           47.

                         

          EXT. FOOTE ESTATE - LATER

          Minny approaches the Foote estate. She stops just short of
          stairs leading up to the front porch.

           MINNY (V.O.)
           Four: You use the same cup, same
           fork, same plate every day.
          Minny takes her first step on the stairs.

           MINNY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Five: Don't hit her kids. White
           people do they own spanking.
          Minny slowly raises her hand to knock on the front door.

           MINNY (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Six: No sass-mouthing!
          Minny knocks.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)

                          (TO HERSELF)
           Number six, Minny. Number six.
          The door flies open. Celia Foote answers. She's covered in
          tight pink clothes. Flour covers her face and hair.

                          CELIA
           Hey there! I'm Celia Rae Foote.
           Aibileen said you'd be on time.
          Minny looks down disapprovingly to Celia's bare feet.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           Can I get you a cold Coca-Cola?

                          MINNY
           No, thank you. I'm Minny
           Jackson... You...cooking
           something?

                          CELIA
           One of those upsidedown cakes from
           the magazine. It ain't workin' out
           too good. Come on in.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Minny enters behind Celia gawking at the flour massacre.

                          MINNY
           What in the hell-
          Minny catches herself.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)

                          (TO HERSELF)
           Tuck it in, Minny. Tuck it in.

           48.

                         

                          CELIA
           I guess I have some learnin' to do.

                          MINNY

                          (STUPID SMILE)
           You sure do.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

          Minny and Celia enter a huge dining room. Minny gawks at a
          dusty mahogany table surrounded by twelve chairs.

                          CELIA
           Johnny's momma wouldn't let me
           decorate a thing. If I had my way,
           this house would have wall to wall
           white carpet with gold trim and
           none of this old stuff.
          Minny spies a framed battle-worn Confederate flag complete
          with bullet holes.

                          MINNY
           Where you from?
          Celia lowers her head in shame...

                          CELIA
           Sugar Ditch. It's near Memphis.

                          MINNY
           I know Sugar Ditch. My cousin live
           there.
          Celia changes the subject.

                          CELIA
           Let's go meet Oscar!
          Celia grabs Minny's hand. Annoyed, Minny pulls it away.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Minny stands at the base of a massive, stuffed Grizzly bear.
          It clears the twelve-foot ceiling by an inch.

                          CELIA
           Johnny's granddaddy shot him up in
           Montana back in 1910 with Teddy
           Roosevelt.
          Celia points to fifteen guns mounted behind Oscar.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           We got five bedrooms and bathrooms
           here in the main house. The pool
           house has two more beds and baths.

           49.

                         

                          MINNY
           When you gone have some chillins,
           start fillin' up all these beds?
          Celia swallows hard. She places her hand on her stomach.

                          CELIA
           I'm pregnant now.
          Minny steps back and surveys Celia.

                          MINNY
           Gone be eatin' for two. Double the
           cookin'.
          Celia slumps her shoulders as she looks around the house.

                          CELIA
           I know it's an awful lot to do.
           Five other maids have already
           turned me down...Can I at least
           give you some bus money?

                          MINNY
           When you hear me say I don't wanna
           clean this house?

                          CELIA
           What? So...You'll do it?!
          Before Minny can nod. Celia throws her arms around her.
          Minny backs away.

                          MINNY
           No huggin', now. No huggin'.

                          CELIA
           I'm sorry. This is my first time
           hiring a maid.

                          MINNY
           We got to talk about some things
           first. I work Sunday through
           Friday.
          Celia bites her pinky nail.

                          CELIA
           You can't come at all on weekends.

                          MINNY
           Okay. What time you want me here?

                          CELIA
           After eight, and you have to leave
           at four.

                          MINNY
           Okay. Now what your husband say
           you can pay?
          Celia looks away.

           50.

                         

                          CELIA
           Johnny doesn't know I'm bringing in
           help.

                          MINNY
           And what's Mr. Johnny gone do if he
           comes home and finds a colored
           woman up in his kitchen?

                          CELIA
           It's not that I'd be fibbing. I
           just want him to think I can do
           this on my own...I need some help
           `til I get the hang of it. I need
           a maid.

                          MINNY
           A course you do. Last one done got
           shot in the head.
          Minny sniffs the air.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Miss Celia, I think you done burned
           up yo cake.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - KITCHEN - SECONDS LATER

          Celia grabs a rag off the sink and jerks the cake out of the
          oven.

                          CELIA
           Oww! Dawgonit!
          She drops the burnt cake on the floor.

                          MINNY
           You can't use no wet towel on a hot
           pan.
          Minny grabs a dry towel and picks up the cake.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           I'll take this burnt up cake with
           me so Mister Johnny don't see it.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - MAE MOBLEY'S ROOM - MORNING

          Aibileen removes Mae Mobley's wet cloth diaper on a changing
          table. Mae Mobley's behind is covered with inflamed diaper
          rash.
          Aibileen shakes her head. Elizabeth enters the room.

                          ELIZABETH
           I'm off, Aibileen. Don't forget
           Raleigh wants pot roast tonight.

           51.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.
          Aibileen's eyes narrow.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOME - KITCHEN - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Skeeter works with a typewriter now. Aibileen, more casually
          dressed than before, waits for Skeeter to finish typing.

                          AIBILEEN
           I reckon I'm ready...to talk about
           Miss Leefolt now.
          Skeeter stops typing and looks up. She nods.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Baby girl don't get her diaper
           changed `til I get there in the
           morning. That's `bout ten hours
           she gots to sit in her mess. I be
           so worried about her on my day off.
           I always come in an hour early on
           Mondays.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - KITCHEN - NIGHT

          Charlotte sits at a table sorting through mail as Skeeter
          enters and grabs an apple

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Miss Leefolt pregnant again, too.
           And, law, I pray this child turn
           out good. It a lonely road if a
           momma don't think theys child is
           pretty.
          Charlotte glances down disapprovingly at the dingy, huarache
          shoes on Skeeter's feet. Skeeter heads for the door.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Where are you going, Skeeter?
          Skeeter turns.

                          SKEETER
           Bible study.

                          CHARLOTTE
           On a Saturday night?

                          SKEETER
           Momma, God doesn't care what day of
           the week it is.
          Skeeter walks out the back door as Charlotte shakes her head.

           52.

                         

          EXT. JOLENE FRENCH'S HOUSE - GARAGE - DAY

          Hilly, Elizabeth and Jolene French stand with Hilly's
          contractor. He unrolls a set of bathroom plans.
          Hilly and Elizabeth look to Jolene and nod approvingly.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S KITCHEN - NIGHT

          Skeeter's typing slows.

                          AIBILEEN
           Miss Leefolt be spending so much
           time keeping up with the society
           ladies, she done forgot the child
           she got now.
          Just then Minny barges through the kitchen back door.

                          MINNY
           Aibileen!
          Minny stops cold in her tracks at the sight of Skeeter.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Yule May told me what y'all up to.
          Aibileen nods. Minny's face hardens.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Medgar Evers live five minutes
           away. They blew up his carport
           last night. For talking!
          Minny scowls at Skeeter.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           What makes you think colored people
           need your help? You white. Why
           you care?

                          AIBILEEN
           We all working for the same thing.

                          MINNY

                          (TO SKEETER)
           Maybe you just want to get her in
           trouble.
          Skeeter is petrified. Her face reddens.

                          SKEETER
           I want to show her perspective...so
           people might understand what it's
           like from your side.

                          MINNY
           Well it's a real Fourth of July
           picnic.

           53.

                         

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           It's what we dream a doing all
           weekend long, get back in they
           house to polish the silver. And we
           just love not getting minimum wage
           or Social Security.

                          SKEETER
           I know, Minny. Maybe things might

                          CHANGE IF-

                          MINNY
           What law's gonna say you gotta be
           nice to your maid? And another
           thing, I don't want my children
           going to school with white kids.
           And I don't care a thing about
           votin.' Only thing black mens get
           elected to is Deacon of the church.

                          AIBILEEN
           You don't have to do this, Minny.

                          MINNY
           You damn right I don't! You two
           givin' me the heart palpitations.
          Minny storms out the back door. Skeeter looks like she might
          get sick.

                          AIBILEEN
           And that was a good mood.
          Minny immediately storms back in the kitchen.

                          MINNY
           All right...I'm gone do it. I just
           want to make sure you know this
           ain't no game we're playing here.
          Skeeter nods, trembling as Minny slides a chair in the middle
          of the kitchen and sits.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)

                          (TO SKEETER)
           Slide your chair out from under
           that table and face me. I want to
           see you square on at all times.
          Still trembling, Skeeter slides her chair from the table and
          just sits there staring at Minny.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           I's got to come up with your
           questions, too?!

                          SKEETER
           Let's begin...begin with...with
           where you were born.
          Aibileen grabs her notebook and begins writing.

           54.

                         

                          MINNY
           Belzoni, Mississippi on my great-
           auntie's sofa. Next!

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - HOURS LATER

          Minny talks a mile a minute. Aibileen continues writing.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Once Minny got to talking `bout
           food, she liked to never stop...

                          MINNY
           I put the green beans in first,
           then I go on and get the pork chops
           going cause, mmm-mmm, I like my
           chops hot out the pan.
          Just as Aibileen fills the first notebook, Skeeter hands her
          another from her satchel.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           But when she got to talking about
           the white ladies, it took all
           night...

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - SUNRISE

          The first signs of morning sun filter into the kitchen.

                          MINNY
           "Oh, Minny, I'm gone give you a
           week paid vacation." Now, I ain't
           had no paid vacation in my life. A
           week later, I come back and they'd
           moved to Mobile. "Miss Lazy
           Fingers" scared I'd find a new job
           before she moved...
          Minny spins around to Aibileen with sudden realization...

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           We gots to get more maids!
          Minny stands. Skeeter's eyes widen with hope.

                          AIBILEEN
           I know, but it hard, Minny.
          Mind racing, Minny flies out the door without a word.
          Aibileen turns to Skeeter.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           You gone and done it now.

           55.

                         

          INT. HARPER AND ROW PUBLISHING - OFFICE - NEW YORK - DAY

          Miss Stein discusses Aibileen and Minny's stories with
          Skeeter on the phone.

                          MISS STEIN
           I like this "Sarah Ross." She can
           kvetch but not complain too much.

                         

          INT- PHELAN PLANTATION (INTERCUT) - PANTRY
          Skeeter nods rapidly as if she knows what "kvetch" means.

                          MISS STEIN
           And this "Bertha"...she's got
           chutzpah. I'll give her that.

                          SKEETER
           So...you liked it?

                          MISS STEIN
           Eugenia, Martin Luther King just
           invited the country to march with
           him in D.C. this August. This many
           negroes and whites haven't worked
           together since "Gone with the
           Wind."

                          SKEETER
           Does this mean you'll publish it?

                          MISS STEIN
           I never said that. My advice is to
           write it fast before this civil
           rights thing blows over. I need it
           by New Year's, and don't send me
           anything more until you have twelve
           maids.

                          SKEETER
           Twelve?

                          MISS STEIN
           At least.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S KITCHEN - THAT NIGHT

          Minny, Aibileen and Skeeter sit at the kitchen table.

                          MINNY
           Aibileen and I done asked everbody
           we know. Thirty-one maids.
           Everbody too scared, think we
           crazy...

                          SKEETER
           Then we might as well stop!

           56.

                         

                          MINNY
           I got plenty a stories, Miss
           Skeeter. Just write`em down and
           invent a maid that said it. We
           already making up everbody's name.
           Make up the maids, too.
          Skeeter jumps up from her chair.

                          SKEETER
           We can't do that!
          Aibileen and Minny lean back.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I mean...I would never do that. It
           wouldn't be real. It's wrong.

                          AIBILEEN
           Don't give up on us, Miss Skeeter.
          Skeeter softens and sits back down.

                          SKEETER
           I'm sorry. Thank you both for
           trying.

                         

          INT. JACKSON JOURNAL NEWSPAPER - OFFICE - DAY

          Skeeter delivers the "Miss Myrna" columns to the
          receptionist, who hands her back a paycheck.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - KITCHEN

          Celia and Minny stand at a fried chicken assembly line.

                          MINNY
           What can you cook?
          Minny dips pieces chicken in an egg wash, then drops them in
          a paper bag. A puff of flour rises out of the bag.

                          CELIA
           I can cook corn pone, boil
           potatoes, and do grits.
          Minny bursts out laughing.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           We didn't have electric current
           where I was raised.

                          MINNY
           Well, I reckon if there's anything
           you ought to know `bout cooking...
          Minny holds up a can of Crisco.

           57.

                         

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           It's this. The most important
           invention since they put mayonnaise
           in a jar. You don't even know the
           things you can do with this here
           can.
          Celia peers into the skillet as Minny spoons out a mound of
          Crisco.

                          CELIA
           How pretty. Looks like frosting.
          Minny rolls her eyes and hands Celia the bag of Chicken.

                          MINNY
           Shake that.
          Celia starts shaking the bag.

                          CELIA
           This is fun!

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - KITCHEN - LATER

          Minny sits down at the table with a plate of chicken. Celia
          sits down next to her.

                          CELIA
           Looks so good! I'm starved.
          Aggravated, Minny stands.

                          MINNY
           You supposed to eat in the dining
           room, Miss Celia. That how it
           works.
          Minny grabs Celia's plate.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Here, I'll take your plate in the
           dinin' room for ya. Want tea?

                          CELIA
           I'm fine right here, Minny.
          Minny sits back down with a sigh. Celia touches her arm.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           I'm real grateful you're here.

                          MINNY
           Miss Celia, you got a lot more to
           be grateful for than me.
          A car is heard pulling up in the driveway. Minny panics.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Mister Johnny?!

           58.

                         

                          CELIA
           Oh, no! Hide!
          Minny slides down underneath the kitchen table.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           Oh...It's just the florist. Johnny
           must have sent me flowers.
          Minny pulls herself up off the floor. She's mad.

                          MINNY
           Miss Celia, I ain't playin' around
           no more! He gone catch me here and
           shoot me dead right here on this no-
           wax floor! You gots to tell him.
           Ain't he wondering how the cooking
           so good?

                          CELIA FOOTE
           You're right. Maybe we ought to
           burn the chicken a little.
          The doorbell rings. Celia runs off to answer.

                          MINNY
           Minny don't burn chicken.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - KITCHEN - DAY

          Skeeter sits with a towel draped across her shoulders.
          Charlotte, now in an auburn wig, squirts mounds of goo from a
          pink tube onto Skeeter's hair.

                          CHARLOTTE
           This is bound to work, Sweetie. It
           even smells expensive.
          She begins twisting Skeeter's hair into gooey spikes.

                          SKEETER
           I feel the hope in your fingers.
          Skeeter resembles a papier mach� starfish.

                          CHARLOTTE
           How can you not know his last name?

                          SKEETER
           He's William's cousin. That's all
           I know.

                          CHARLOTTE
           That's just so sweet of Hilly.
          Charlotte takes a drag from her cigarette, then lifts up a
          silver machine complete with power cord and rubber hose.

                          SKEETER
           What is that?!

           59.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           The Shinolator! It cost eleven
           dollars. I'm a good mother.
          Charlotte puts a shower cap device on Skeeter's head and
          reads from the Shinolator manual.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           "The Miracle Straitening Cap" must
           remain on the head for two hours."

                          SKEETER
           Two hours?!
          Charlotte flips a switch and takes another drag. The machine
          groans to life. Skeeter's cap inflates.

                          CHARLOTTE
           I'll have Pascagoula bring you a
           magazine.
          Skeeter snatches her mother's cigarette and takes a drag.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter sits under the Shinolator buried in a magazine.
          Pascagoula enters and sets down a glass of tea.

                          SKEETER
           Thanks, Constantine. Do you think
           this dress is cute?
          Skeeter holds the magazine up to Pascagoula. Only now does
          she realize what she's said and done.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I'm sorry. Thanks, Pascagoula.
          Pascagoula nods and starts to walk away then turns.

                          PASCAGOLUA
           I knew Constantine. She was a
           mighty fine woman.

                         

          INT. PHELEN PLANTATION - SKEETER'S BEDROOM - LATER THAT DAY

          The Shinolator was a success. Skeeter's hair is straight,
          silky and beautiful.

                          SKEETER
           Holy shit.

                          CHARLOTTE
           You've shrunk five inches. You'll
           be able to wear heels tonight.
          Charlotte looks down to the huarache shoes on Skeeter's feet
          and rushes to the closet.

           60.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           You're not leaving this house in
           those awful, Mexican, man shoes.
          Charlotte pulls out a dress and pair of heels.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           What time is he picking you up?

                          SKEETER
           He's meeting me at Hilly's. Can I
           take the Cadillac?

                          CHARLOTTE
           We promised Carlton the Cadillac
           tonight. So, William's cousin will
           just have to come get you himself.

                          SKEETER
           I'll take the truck.

                          CHARLOTTE
           It's hooked to the motor grader.

                          SKEETER
           I'll drive slow.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - FIELD - LATER THAT AFTERNOON

          Skeeter pulls away in a rusted 1941 Chevy farm truck with a
          huge motor grader attached. Charlotte runs next to the
          truck. Her wig is askew.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Don't mope. Remember to smile!
          Skeeter floors it. Charlotte runs faster.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           And, don't sit like some squaw
           Indian. Cross! Your! Ankles!
          Skeeter leaves her mother in a cloud of dust.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)

                          (SHOUTING)
           I love you!

                         

          INT. FARM TRUCK - COUNTRY ROAD - MOMENTS LATER

          Chunks of mud fly off the tires. The June sun has set the
          truck's interior at a stubborn 115 degrees.
          Skeeter has no choice but to lower her window. The
          Shinolator meets its match.
          A mangy, STRAY CAT suddenly jumps out in the road. When
          towing 10,000 pounds of farm equipment, slowing down quickly
          isn't an option.

           61.

                         
          A loud thud sounds out from the truck's grill.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - PARLOR - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Hilly, her husband, WILLIAM, and Skeeter's date, STUART
          WHITWORTH, drink high balls and eat cheese in the Holbrook
          parlor. Gold swag curtains hang on the windows.
          Balding and pudgy, only William's family money once made him
          a desirable bachelor. Stuart, on the other hand, is very
          handsome, the "Marlboro Man" in a well-tailored suit.
          Yule May (who we met earlier at church with Aibileen) now
          works for Hilly. She clears empty glasses.

                          WILLIAM
           With your daddy's endorsement, I
           can win that Senate seat.
          Stuart feigns interest.

                          STUART
           I'll talk to him.
          Ice slams against Stuart's teeth as he downs his drink.
          Hilly pats William's leg then turns with concern to a
          grandfather clock announcing half past the hour.
          The front door flies open. Skeeter enters completely out of
          breath and sweaty. Her HAIR HAS TRIPLED IN SIZE. She waves.

                          SKEETER
           Hey.
          As Hilly races toward Skeeter, William and Stuart stand.
          Stuart is as tall as he is handsome.

                          HILLY
           Boys, we'll be right back. Y'all
           talk about quarterbacks or
           something. Yule May, get Miss
           Skeeter a Coca Cola.
          Yule May runs off. Hilly pulls Skeeter down the hall.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter sits on the toilet downing a Coca-Cola. Hilly twists
          the last of Skeeter's hair into giant rollers.

                          HILLY
           Skeeter, you don't even have on
           lipstick!
          Skeeter dabs her armpits.

           62.

                         

                          SKEETER
           It was so goddamn awful. I hit a
           cat.
          Hilly sprays Final Net.

                          HILLY
           Well...What do you think of him?
          Skeeter applies lipstick. Hilly removes the rollers.

                          SKEETER
           He looks handsome.
          Skeeter stands up and does a twirl for Hilly.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           All right, give it to me. One to
           ten?
          Hilly sprays Skeeter with perfume and stands back.

                          HILLY
           Seven.

                          SKEETER
           Really?! Seven?
          Hilly nods, lets out a little squeal.

                          HILLY
           Honey, you're beautiful. Just go
           on out there...you're gonna do
           great. It's your time, Skeeter. I
           just know it.
          Hilly hugs Skeeter.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - DINING ROOM - NIGHT

          Hilly, William, Stuart and Skeeter sit at a round table
          adorned with white linens, silver and fine china.
          The room buzzes with Jackson's elite all trying to be noticed
          as a JAZZ QUARTET plays softly in a corner.
          A WAITER approaches. Stuart leans into Skeeter without
          making eye contact.

                          STUART
           You want a drink?

                          SKEETER
           Just water, please.

                          STUART

                          (TO WAITER)
           Double Old Kentucky straight...with
           a water back...Make that two backs.

           63.

                         

                          SKEETER
           THANKS?! So...you went to Alabama?
          Stuart nods. Hilly rolls her eyes.

                          HILLY
           "Roll Tide." We still love him.
          Hilly pinches Stuart on the cheek.

                          SKEETER
           Now you're in the oil business.
           Hilly says you're a rigsite leader.

                          STUART
           The money's good. If that's what
           you really want to know.

                          SKEETER
           That's not what I-
          Skeeter and Hilly watch as Stuart's and William's eyes fix on
          the front of the restaurant.
          Celia and Johnny have entered. Celia wears a tight green
          dress and the reddest lipstick ever put in a tube.

                          STUART
           Isn't that your old boyfriend,
           Hilly? Johnny Foote?
          Hilly scowls.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           Who's his girl? Lord, she's hotter
           than Delta asphalt.
          Celia spots Hilly and gives a self-conscious wave.

                          HILLY
           William! The Lieutenant Governor
           just walked in.
          Hilly jumps up and pulls William away. The waiter returns
          with Stuart's drink and the water backs.

                          STUART
           So, what do you do with your time?

                          SKEETER
           I write a...a domestic maintenance
           column for the Jackson Journal.
          Stuart smirks, taking a huge sip of his drink.

                          STUART
           You mean housekeeping?
          Skeeter nods and grabs her water.

           64.

                         

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           Jesus, I can't think of anything
           worse than reading a cleaning
           column. Except maybe writing one.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - LOBBY - SAME TIME

          Hilly and William finish shaking hands with the Lieutenant
          Governor. As he walks away, Hilly shouts out.

                          HILLY
           We'd love your support on election
           day!
          Celia and Johnny walk up. Hilly stiffens.

                          JOHNNY
           Hilly, you look lovely tonight.

                          HILLY
           Thank you, Johnny.

                          JOHNNY
           William, have you ever met Celia?
          William steps forward and shakes Celia's hand.

                          WILLIAM
           Nice to meet you.
          Hilly grabs the crook of William's arm.

                          HILLY
           Sweetie, we need to go order our
           dinners.
          Celia musters up all the courage inside her.

                          CELIA FOOTE
           Hilly, did you ever get the
           messages that I've been calling
           you?

                          HILLY
           I did not.

                          CELIA FOOTE
           Well, I would love to help with the
           benefit. I have a lovely hand if
           you need invitations addressed.

                          HILLY
           "Save the dates" were mailed weeks
           ago...You didn't get one?
          Celia shakes her head.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Mail's a lot slower way out there
           in the country, huh?

           65.

                         

                          HILLY (CONT'D)

                          (TO WILLIAM)
           Now, come on, before they run out
           of Trout Almondine.
          Hilly pulls William away. Johnny grabs Celia's hand.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - DINING ROOM - CONTINUOUS


                          STUART
           Sounds like a ploy to find a
           husband...becoming an expert on
           keeping house.

                          SKEETER
           Well, you must be a genius. You
           figured out my whole scheme.
          Skeeter fumes as Hilly and William return and sit.

                          HILLY
           What'd we miss?

                          STUART
           Isn't that what you women from Ole
           Miss major in? Professional
           husband hunting?

                          SKEETER
           I'm sorry, but were you dropped on
           your head as an infant?
          Stuart blinks and then smiles, somewhat impressed. Desperate
          to change the subject, Hilly claps her hands.

                          HILLY
           Who? Is? Hungry?
          Skeeter stands.

                          SKEETER
           Not me! A kiss from God couldn't
           turn this `frog' into a `prince.'
          Tables begin to stare.

                          STUART
           Or you a `princess,' Sweetheart!
          As Skeeter walks away, she purposefully slides her purse into
          a glass of water, knocking it over into Stuart's lap.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - DINING ROOM - MORNING

          Hilly and William each have a section of newspaper in their
          face as Yule May clears breakfast dishes. Yule May lingers
          nervously.

           66.

                         

                          HILLY
           Run on, now, Yule May. Got a big
           crowd coming for Miss Leefolt's
           baby shower.

                          YULE MAY
           Miss Hilly, I would like to ask you
           and Mister William something.
          Hilly lowers her paper and nods. Yule May begins wrenching
          her hands.

           YULE MAY (CONT'D)
           My twin boys finished high school,
           both on the honor roll...My husband
           and I have been saving for years to
           send them to college.

                          HILLY
           Okay...
          Only now does William lower his paper.

                          YULE MAY
           We are short seventy-five dollars
           on one of the tuitions.
          William stands up, kisses Hilly on the cheek.

                          WILLIAM
           Well, I'm late. Gotta go.
          William leaves.

                          HILLY
           Go on...

                          YULE MAY
           Now...We're faced with having to
           choose. Which son gets to go...if
           we don't find all the money.
          Hilly draws in a deep breath as does Yule May.

           YULE MAY (CONT'D)
           Would you consider givin' us a
           loan? I'll...I'll work for free
           until it's paid off.

                          HILLY
           That's not working for free, Yule
           May. That's paying off a debt.

                          YULE MAY
           Yes, ma'am.

                          HILLY
           As a Christian, I'm going to do you
           a favor.
          Yule May's eyes widen as a hopeful smile forms.

           67.

                         

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           God doesn't give charity to those
           who are well and able. You need to
           come up with this money on your
           own. You'll thank me one day.
          Hilly raises the paper up to her face as Yule May exits.

                         

          INT. WHITE GROCERY STORE - LATER THAT MORNING

          Minny and Aibileen, in uniform, push carts side by side in
          the grocery store. The white shoppers are dressed casually.
          Other maids in the store (all required to be in uniform while
          shopping) keep quietly to themselves.
          White women smile and chat with one another as they meander
          down the aisles as if the black maids aren't even there.
          Minny suddenly spots Celia in the produce section. She pulls
          Aibileen close as they peer around the corner.

                          MINNY
           That's her.
          Aibileen's mouth drops open at the sight of Celia's shorts
          and tight sweater. Celia is having trouble selecting
          produce.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Lord, she's trying to shop.
          Celia walks up to a maid, grabs her, and pulls her to the
          tomatoes. The maid, clearly uncomfortable, selects a tomato,
          hands it to Celia, and scurries away.

                          CELIA

                          (SHOUTS OUT)
           Thanks, Doll!

                          MINNY
           Miss Celia just don't see `em. The
           lines. Not between us, Miss Hilly,
           nobody.
          Aibileen just nods.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           What you so quiet for? I know you
           got a opinion `bout all this.

                          AIBILEEN
           You gone accuse me a
           philosophizing.

                          MINNY
           I ain't afraid a no philosophy.

           68.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           I don't believe in lines anymore.
           Lines is in our heads `cause people
           like Miss Hilly try to make us
           believe they there.
          Celia squeezes a canteloupe with another scared maid.

                          MINNY
           Oh, they there. I know. I get
           punished for crossing them.

                         

          EXT. BUS STOP - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen and Minny continue their conversation while waiting
          with several other maids at a bus stop in front of the store.

                          AIBILEEN
           Lotta of folk think if you talk
           back to your husband, you crossed a
           line...need to be punished.

                          MINNY
           You know I ain't studying no line
           like that.

                          AIBILEEN
           Cause it ain't there. `Cept in
           Leroy's head. Lines between black
           and white ain't there either.
          Minny and Aibileen watch as Celia exits the store with her
          groceries and prances toward her car.

                          MINNY
           So, I ain't crossing no line if I
           tell Miss Celia she ain't good
           enough for Miss Hilly? Tell her
           she ain't in Miss Hilly's league?

                          AIBILEEN
           All I'm saying is kindness don't
           have no boundaries.
          Just then, MYRLIE EVERS, 30, (Medgar Evers wife) approaches
          the bus stop with her three Children. SONS, 10 and 3, and a

          DAUGHTER, 8.
          Aibileen and Minny nod as the Evers walk past and sit on a
          bench.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Law, the Evers children have gotten
           so big!

                          MINNY

                          (QUIETLY)
           Cause they happy. Myrlie got her a
           good man...And you better not try
           to say they ain't no line between
           her Medgar and my Leroy.

           69.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           No. You got me.
          A bus pulls up and the doors open. Minny, Aibileen and the
          other maids step aside to let the Evers family board first.

                         

          EXT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - BACK YARD - LATER THAT DAY

          Aibileen has come along to aid Yule May with Elizabeth's baby
          shower.
          A table is set in the middle of the yard covered in white
          linens and Hilly's best sliver.
          Hilly's son sits on her lap. The other girls' children wear
          bathing suits jumping noisily in and out of two plastic kiddy
          pools.
          Yule May clears cake plates while Aibileen removes crumbs
          with a sterling crumb scraper.
          Mae Mobley wanders up to the table. Her belly almost looks
          distended crammed inside last year's one piece.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Mae Mo hungry, Momma.
          Elizabeth turns to Mae Mobley but never gets up.

                          ELIZABETH
           She's always hungry.
          All the women laugh except for Skeeter.

                          SKEETER
           You know she can hear you,
           Elizabeth?
          Elizabeth looks down to her plate. Aibileen sets down the
          scraper and kneels down to Mae Mobley.

                          AIBILEEN
           I'm on cut you some cake, Baby.

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen, we gave that scraper to
           Hilly and William for their wedding
           present. Chantilly!

                          AIBILEEN
           It so pretty.
          Hilly begins bouncing William Jr. on her knee.

                          HILLY
           Aibileen, are you enjoying your new
           bathroom over at Elizabeth's?
          Hilly nods with a tight smile and glances to the ground at
          Skeeter's red satchel.

           70.

                         

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Nice to have your own, isn't it?

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.

                          HILLY
           Separate but equal. That's what
           Ross Barnett says, and you can't
           argue with the Governor.

                          SKEETER
           Not in Mississippi. Birthplace of
           modern day government.
          Hilly narrows her eyes at Skeeter and turns to Aibileen.

                          HILLY
           Aibileen, did you know that me and
           Mister Holbrook arranged for that
           bathroom? Sent the boys over and
           the equipment, too.
          Hilly stays on Aibileen, waiting for her to say something.
          Skeeter fumes, hoping Aibileen doesn't say it.

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am...And I thank you.
          Hilly smiles and nods.

                          HILLY
           Well...You. Are. Welcome.
          Hilly shoots Skeeter a last look. William Jr. leans into
          Hilly and hugs her.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           One thing I got to say about Miss
           Hilly, she love her children.
           Always tellin' them they smart and
           beautiful. Can't go more than ten
           minutes without givin' one a kiss.
          Hilly kisses her son gently.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           And, law, do they love her back.
           When she starts up on me, I just
           try and think a my sweet Treelore
           and how much he loved me. That
           kind a love makes me cry. Even
           when it going to Miss Hilly.
          Hilly again glances to the red satchel, staring quizzically
          at the worn booklet of The Jim Crow laws sticking out.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - KITCHEN - LATER THAT DAY

          Yule May washes dishes as the women are heard saying their
          "good-byes" on the street. Skeeter slips into the kitchen.

           71.

                         

                          YULE MAY
           May I get you something?

                          SKEETER
           No, thanks...

                          (HUSHED)
           Yule May, I wanted to talk to you.
          Yule May turns off the sink faucet making sure Hilly is still
          cackling out on the street.

                          YULE MAY
           I know what you want to ask, Miss
           Skeeter. Aibileen and Minny
           already did.
          Yule May closes the kitchen door.

           YULE MAY (CONT'D)
           I'm trying to get my boys off to
           college. It's worthwhile what
           y'all doing, but my boys are worth
           more.

                          SKEETER
           I understand.

           HILLY (O.C.)
           What do you "understand," Skeeter?
          Skeeter and Yule May turn to find Hilly standing in the
          swinging door leading into the dining room.

                          SKEETER
           Ah...Yule May was just telling me
           how excited she was that her boys
           were going to go to college.

                          HILLY
           Is that true, Yule May?

                          YULE MAY
           Yes, Ma'am.
          Skeeter notices that Hilly is holding the booklet of Jim Crow
          laws in her hand.

                          HILLY
           Did you also ask Miss Skeeter if
           you could borrow money?

                          SKEETER
           Of course not, Hilly!
          Hilly approaches Skeeter.

                          HILLY
           Skeeter, I'm starting to think
           you're intentionally not putting my
           initiative in the newsletter.
          Eyes down, Yule May hurries out of the kitchen.

           72.

                         

                          SKEETER
           Not at all. I'm just so busy right
           now with Mom.

                          HILLY
           Skeeter...I'm sorry about your
           mother. And I know you must be so
           worried.
          Hilly holds up the Jim Crow booklet.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           But I'm worried about you. All
           this carrying on lately and now
           you're reading this stuff?

                          SKEETER
           My dad had me get that for him.

                          HILLY
           I mean, around your friends is one
           thing...But, believe it or not,
           there are real racists in this
           town! If the wrong person caught
           you with this...you'd be in serious
           trouble.
          Skeeter snatches the booklet from Hilly.

                          SKEETER
           Thanks, Hilly! And thanks for
           going through my things.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - SKEETER'S BEDROOM - NEXT DAY

          Skeeter types feverishly while smoking a cigarette. Keys type
          out: "Home Help Sanitation Initiative."
          Skeeter picks up Hilly's document and shakes her head. She
          types: Don't risk your children's and family's health!

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

          Yule May vacuums. She pulls the sofa away from the wall to
          clean beneath it.
          Noticing something on the floor, Yule May leans over.
          She rises holding a SMALL RUBY RING. Years of dust and hair
          blanket the pitiful gem set in ten karat gold.
          The vacuum seems to roar louder now. Yule May breathes
          heavily. She shoves the ring into her uniform pocket.

                         

          INT. PHELEN PLANTATION - SKEETER'S BEDROOM - THAT AFTERNOON

          As Skeeter bangs away on her typewriter, Charlotte bursts
          into the room, stuck somewhere between panic and joy.

           73.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           Skeeter!

                          SKEETER
           What?!

                          CHARLOTTE
           Don't panic, but there's a very
           tall man named Stuart here for you.

                          SKEETER
           He's a drunken asshole, Mother.
           You wouldn't like him.
          Charlotte pulls a sun dress out of Skeeter's closet.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Skeeter, love and hate are two
           horns on the same goat. And, you
           need a goat!

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter, Charlotte and Stuart sit in the living room.
          Pascagoula serves finger sandwiches.
          Stuart looks nice in khaki pants, a blue blazer and a red
          tie. His nose is pink from working in the sun.
          No one says a word. Finally...

                          CHARLOTTE
           Stuart, would you like a cocktail?
          Skeeter shoots her mother a "What the..." look.

                          STUART
           No, Ma'am. Little too early.

                          SKEETER
           Ha!
          Charlotte moves on.

                          CHARLOTTE
           What's your last name, Stuart?

                          STUART
           Whitworth.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Hmm...Where are you from?

                          STUART
           Natchez.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Really? Well, I know a Whitworth
           from Natchez...But he's a Senator
           up in Washington.

           74.

                         

                          STUART
           Yes, Ma'am. That's my daddy.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Who is?

                          STUART
           Senator Whitworth. That's my
           father.
          Charlotte's jaw drops to her string of pearls.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Really?
          Stuart nods. Charlotte stands, flustered yet joyful.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Well...tell him I said
           "Hello"...I'm going to go see if
           Pascagoula needs some help in the
           kitchen.
          Charlotte backs away behind Stuart's chair. She points at
          Skeeter violently, as if to say, DON'T MESS THIS UP!

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - BACK YARD - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter and Stuart stand beneath an old Cypress tree as
          Charlotte peeps from an upstairs window.

                          STUART
           Look. I know it was a few weeks
           back, but I came here to say I'm
           sorry for the way I acted.

                          SKEETER
           Who sent you? William or Hilly?

                          STUART
           Neither. I was rude, and I've been
           thinking about it a lot.

                          SKEETER
           Well, I haven't. So, just go.

                          STUART
           Now, look. I told Hilly I wasn't
           ready to go out on any date. I
           wasn't even close to ready.
          Stuart shoves his hands in his pockets like a boy.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           I was engaged last year. She ended
           it.
          Skeeter refuses to pity him.

           75.

                         

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           We'd been dating since we were
           fifteen. You know how it is.

                          SKEETER
           Actually, I don't. I've never
           dated anyone before.
          Stuart looks up and starts laughing loudly.

                          STUART
           Well! That must be it then.

                          SKEETER
           What?

                          STUART
           I've never met a woman that said
           exactly what she was thinking.

                          SKEETER
           I've got plenty to say...

                          STUART
           Would you like to...come downtown
           with me and have dinner? We could
           talk... We could listen to each
           other this time.

                          SKEETER
           I can't think of anything worse.
          Stuart looks down and nods.

                          STUART
           Then, I'm sorry. That's what I
           came to say and...I said it.
          Stuart turns and walks towards his car, self-consciously
          weaving his strong fingers through his hair.
          Skeeter looks up to her mother's empty window and shouts out
          to Stuart.

                          SKEETER
           Just give me a minute!
          Stuart turns.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Let me get my sweater.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - DINING ROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Skeeter and Stuart sit closely as the same waiter as before
          approaches.

                          STUART
           What do you want, Skeeter?

           76.

                         

                          SKEETER
           I'll have a Co-cola. Lots of ice.

                          STUART
           No, I mean in life. What do you
           want?
          Only now does Skeeter notice the tray of champagne the waiter
          is holding. Stuart nods as two glasses are set before them.
          The waiter leaves.

                          SKEETER
           I want to be a journalist. Maybe a
           novelist. Maybe both.

                          STUART
           I like that...I've been thinking
           about you. You're smart, you're
           pretty, you're...tall!

                          SKEETER
           Pretty?

                          STUART
           Yes. And I read your column. Very
           informative.

                          (SMILING)
           I never knew Crisco got rid of
           diaper rash.
          Skeeter laughs and slaps him playfully.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           I hope you get to write something
           really good, Skeeter. Something
           you believe in.
          Stuart suddenly leans over and kisses Skeeter.

                         

          EXT. DRIVE-IN-MOVIE - ONE WEEK LATER

          Stuart and Skeeter make out HARD in the back of the
          Holbrook's convertible. Hilly and William sit in the front.
          Hilly peers into the rearview mirror to get a better view.
          Proud of herself, she pats William's leg.
          William slides his hand up Hilly's leg. She jerks it away.

                         

          EXT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - DAY

          Aibileen sits on the kitchen floor next to a bucket. She
          feverishly scours grease off the baseboards.
          Elizabeth's car pulls up. Aibileen smiles.

                          AIBILEEN
           Baby girl home.

           77.

                         
          The car door slams shut.

           ELIZABETH (O.C.)
           Aibileen! My trunk's full!
          Aibileen rises slowly, placing a hand on her knee. Outside,
          Elizabeth suddenly shouts out hysterically.

           ELIZABETH (O.C.) (CONT'D)
           Mae Mobley! No! Stop!
          Aibileen panics. She gets up, looks out the window.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT BACKYARD - SAME TIME

          Mae Mobley sits on Aibileen's toilet in the garage. Door
          wide open, pants around her ankles.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Me and Aibiee bafroom, Momma.
          Elizabeth runs over and yanks Mae Mobley off, popping her
          hard on the behind.

                          ELIZABETH
           It! Is! Not!
          Mae Mobley begins to cry. Aibileen watches as Elizabeth hiss-
          whispers and yanks Mae Mobley hard on the arm.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           This is dirty out here! You'll
           catch diseases.
          Elizabeth punctuates with three more slaps to her legs.

                          ELIZABETH (CONT'D)
           No! No! No!

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen sits on the couch with Mae Mobley who eats a cookie.
          Mae Mobley's face is red and damp.

                          AIBILEEN
           I'm here, baby girl. Aibee's here.
          Aibileen kisses her on the cheek.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           You is kind. You is smart. You is
           important...You want me to tell you
           one a our secret stories?
          Mae Mobley nods. The phone rings. Aibileen rises.

           ELIZABETH (O.C.)
           I got it!

           78.

                         
          Aibileen sits back down and leans into Mae Mobley.

                          AIBILEEN
           One day this wise Martian come down
           to Earth to teach us people a thing
           or two.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Martian? How big?

                          AIBILEEN
           Oh, he about six-two.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           What's his name?

                          AIBILEEN
           Martian Luther King.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           What did he look like?

                          AIBILEEN
           Looked just like us, nose, mouth,
           hair on his head. But, sometimes
           people looked at him funny and were
           just downright mean to him.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Why Aibee? Why was they so mean?

                          AIBILEEN
           `Cause he was green.
          Elizabeth suddenly barges into the living room.

                          ELIZABETH
           Aibileen! Come on! We have to go
           help Hilly. Now! Come on!
          Elizabeth runs outside. Aibileen grabs Mae Mobley.

                         

          EXT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - MOMENTS LATER

          Elizabeth wobbles briskly up the street holding her pregnant
          belly. Aibileen and Mae Mobley follow.
          A stream of people walk toward them, laughing.
          They round a corner to see FIFTY OLD TOILETS, in every shape
          and color imaginable, littering Hilly's lawn.
          Some have towering tanks with chain pulls at the top,
          providing amusement to the procession of cars driving by.
          The Holbrook's station wagon sits in the driveway, doors
          still open with LUGGAGE tied to the roof.
          Two OLD BLACK MEN struggle to remove a toilet under William's
          supervision.

           79.

                         
          Aibileen hides her smile. Mae Mobley points.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Look! Look, Aibee.
          Hilly flies out of her house as a REPORTER snaps a picture of
          her.

                          HILLY
           Get out of here!
          Hilly pushes him in the bushes and runs up to Elizabeth.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Skeeter! She put it in the
           newsletter. I specifically said
           old coats are to be dropped at my
           house. Not commodes!
          Hilly faces the toilets again and screams.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           She put it in the newsletter when
           she knew we'd be down at the beach.
          Hilly steps up to Aibileen and points to the old men.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Go help those boys GET THOSE

           TOILETS OFF MY LAWN!

                         

          INT. BUS - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Aibileen rides in the back of a bus with a YOUNG BLACK MAN.
          Two white men sit right behind the white driver.
          The bus slows to a stop in the middle of the road.
          In the distance, blue lights flash in front of a road block.
          A few people gather.

                          DRIVER
           Y'all stay put. Let me find out
           what's going on.
          As the driver gets up, a WLBT-TV news truck whizzes by
          followed by a police motorcycle. Aibileen leans in the aisle
          and looks ahead.
          The driver returns. The young black man speaks up.

           YOUNG BLACK MAN
           What happen up there, Mister?

                          DRIVER
           Colored people off. White people
           lemme know where y'all are going.
           I'll get you as close as I can.

           80.

                         
          As the young black man helps Aibileen down the aisle, a white
          passenger taps the driver on the shoulder.

                          WHITE PASSENGER
           What's going on?
          Aibileen and the young man walk down the stairs.

                          DRIVER
           I don't know. Some nigger got
           shot. Where you headed?
          The bus door shuts and the driver backs away.

                         

          EXT. STREET - MINUTES LATER

          Aibileen and the young man walk along a dark street. The
          sound of cicadas and sirens fill the air.

           YOUNG BLACK MAN
           You all right? You close to home?

                          AIBILEEN
           I be all right. My house is seven
           blocks from here.

           YOUNG BLACK MAN
           Want me to walk you?

                          AIBILEEN
           Naw, thank ya. I'll be fine...Law,
           I hope this ain't as bad as-
          Aibileen turns to discover the young man is gone. She stares
          into the darkness. Scared, she begins to run.
          She cuts through a yard and trips over a hedge. She falls
          hard to her knees.
          Terrified, Aibileen begins to sob. She sees Minny's porch
          light and pulls herself up.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - SECONDS LATER

          Minny sits with all five of her children, Sugar, LEROY JR,
          12, KINDRA, 10, FELICIA, 6, and BENNY, 4. They all listen
          anxiously to a radio on the table.
          Aibileen opens the screen door and falls to the floor.
          Minny jumps up to help her. She sees blood and grass stains
          streaking the knees of Aibileen's panty hose.

                          MINNY
           Aibileen! You okay?
          Aibileen nods, trying to compose herself.

           81.

                         

           RADIO ANNOUNCER (O.S.)
           Almost ten years serving as the
           Field Secretary for the
           NAACP...Medgar Evers is dead.
          Aibileen swallows hard.

                          MINNY
           KKK shot him! Hour ago. Right in
           front a his children, Aibileen.

                          AIBILEEN
           We gone pray for the Evers. We
           gone pray for Myrlie.
          Minny raises her fists.

                          MINNY
           We living in hell! We trapped.
           Our kids is trapped.
          Minny turns to Sugar.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Take your brother and sister and go
           get in my bed. Stay there!
          Sugar leads the kids to the back of the house.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           What they gone do to us if they
           catch us with Miss Skeeter?

                          AIBILEEN
           We gone be careful.

                          MINNY
           Hitch us to a pickup and drag us
           behind? Shoot me front a my kids?

                          AIBILEEN
           We ain't doing civil rights with
           Miss Skeeter. We just tellin'
           stories like they really happen.
          Minny and Aibileen grab hands and squeeze hard.

                          MINNY
           You a fool, old woman. A fool!
          Aibileen hugs Minny.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           I can't believe I'm on say this...
           But, I actually wish Leroy was home
           right now.
          Aibileen and Minny laugh a little through the tears.

           82.

                         

          INT. HARPER AND ROW PUBLISHING - OFFICE - NEW YORK

          Elaine Stein sits at her desk flipping through the New York
          Times. She notices something, actually laughs.

          CLOSE ON PAPER:
          A picture shows Hilly standing among the fifty toilets in her
          front yard. A caption reads:
           "Come on by, have a seat!"
          Home of William and Hilly Holbrook, Jackson, Mississippi.

                         

          EXT. OFFSHORE OIL RIG - DAY

          Stuart, on the deck of an offshore oil rig, laughs as he
          looks at Hilly's picture inside a local newspaper.
          He writes on the back of a postcard addressed to Skeeter:
           I guess you potty trained Hilly!
           Much love, Stuart.

                         

          EXT. JUNIOR LEAGUE - PARKING LOT - THREE DAYS LATER

          Skeeter parks and gets out of her car. She suddenly finds
          herself face to face with Hilly.

                          HILLY
           You are sick. Do not speak to me.
           Do not look at me. Don't say hello
           to my children. How long had you
           been planning to humiliate my
           family?

                          SKEETER
           That's not it, Hilly.

                          HILLY
           You thought you were so clever,
           didn't ya? But I've already
           installed three of those old
           toilets in people's garages.

                          SKEETER
           Technically, it was a typo, Hilly.

                          HILLY
           I intend to tell Stuart he's
           ruining his reputation by
           associating with you. Jolene's
           yard boy saw you hanging around the
           colored bus stop.

                          SKEETER
           I wasn't hanging-

           83.

                         

                          HILLY
           I guess your car was in the shop?
          Skeeter looks away.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           You know as well as I do, people
           won't buy so much as a slice of
           pound cake from an organization
           that harbors racial
           integrationists!
          Skeeter steps forward.

                          SKEETER
           Hilly, just who is that pound cake
           money being raised for, anyway?
          Hilly rolls her eyes.

                          HILLY
           "The Starving Children of Africa."
          Skeeter nods and walks away. Hilly shouts out.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Just so you know, Lou Ann Templeton
           has taken your seat at bridge club.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - LIVING ROOM - MORNING

          Minny walks in, notices it's eerily quiet.

                          MINNY
           Miss Celia?

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Minny walks into Celia's bedroom.

                          MINNY
           Miss Celia, you in here?
          Minny hears running water and muffled crying behind the
          bathroom door. She presses her ear to the door.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Hello? You sick?
          Minny twists the knob. It's locked.

           CELIA (O.C.)
           I'm fine. Minny. Go on home for
           the day.

                          MINNY
           You mess up your hair coloring
           again? I helped you fix it last
           time, got it back real pretty.

           84.

                         
          Celia yells at Minny for the very first time.

           CELIA (O.C.)
           I said go home, Minny!
          Minny sees water creeping out from under the door. She steps
          back and charges, shoulder first.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - BATHROOM - CONTINUOUS

          The bathroom door bursts open with splinters of wood. Minny
          slips in a pool of watered down blood.
          Celia sits against the wall in a bloody nightgown.

                          MINNY
           Miss Celia!
          Celia aimlessly moves the blood around with a wash cloth.

                          CELIA
           There's so much blood. Why is
           there so much blood this time?
          Minny crawls over, peers into the toilet bowl and gags.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           Please, Minny. Will you get it
           out? I can't look at it again.
          Shaken, Minny reaches for a trash can. She puts her hand on
          Celia's neck and pushes it down.

                          MINNY
           Keep your head down.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE- BEDROOM - LATER THAT DAY

          Celia lies in bed while Minny presses a cool rag to her
          forehead. Celia stares out of her bedroom window.

                         CELIA'S POV:
          The two rosebushes stand in the middle of the front lawn.
          A DOCTOR enters the room.

                          DOCTOR
           Give her another pill if she gets
           too agitated. There'll be more
           bleeding, but don't call me unless
           it's heavy.
          Minny nods as the doctor leaves.

                          CELIA
           We got married because I was
           pregnant. But it slipped out too.

           85.

                         

                          MINNY
           That's just God's way. Next one's
           gonna catch.

                          CELIA
           Johnny wants kids now. I thought
           if I was real still, brought
           somebody in to do the house and
           cooking, maybe I'd hold on to this
           one. Oh, Minny, what's he gonna do
           with me?

                          MINNY
           He gone have to get over this. He
           needs to know this takes time.

                          CELIA
           He doesn't know about this one, or
           the one before...
          Minny turns to Celia, stunned by this revelation.

                          CELIA FOOTE
           Minny, you know how to play bridge,
           don't you?
          Minny nods.

                          MINNY
           Yes, ma'am. I used to help Missus
           Walters practice.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - MORNING

          Aibileen holds a plate of grits covered in toasted
          marshmallows, strawberries and three lighted candles.

                          AIBILEEN
           Happy Birthday! Mae Mobley two
           today!
          Mae Mobley laughs as Aibileen sets down the grits.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Mae Mobley three!

                          AIBILEEN
           You sure is, Baby Girl. Blow'em
           out `fo they run up in your grits.
          Mae Mobley blows out the candles.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           How old are you, Aibiee?

                          AIBILEEN
           Fifty-three.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Do you get burfdays?

           86.

                         
          Mae Mobley picks up a candle and licks off the grits.

                          AIBILEEN
           Gone be fifty-four next week.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Do you have some babies?

                          AIBILEEN
           I gots seventeen of `em.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Where are the babies?

                          AIBILEEN
           They all over town.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Aibee...You're my real mama.

                          AIBILEEN
           Now, you know who your momma is.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           I'm your real baby, Aibee. Those
           other ones are just pretend.

                         

          EXT. FOOTE ESTATE - FRONT YARD - EARLY MORNING

          Celia digs a hole next to the two existing rosebushes. A
          closed shoebox and new rosebush wait to be planted.
          Celia lowers the box in the grave, covering it with dirt.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - LIVING ROOM - LATER THAT MORNING

          Celia and Minny sit at a card table holding playing cards.
          Two additional hands lay face up on the table in front of two
          empty chairs across from them.
          Minny lays down one of her cards then looks over to Celia's
          hand.
          She removes a card from Celia's and lays it down. She then
          points to the hand next to Celia. Celia nods.

                         

          INT. JUNIOR LEAGUE - MEETING HALL - DAY

          Hilly stands at her podium, tan and ready to lead. She holds
          her gavel like a weapon.

                          HILLY
           Okay. First order of business.
           We're updating our newsletter.
          Hilly stares right at Skeeter who sits alone in the back.

           87.

                         

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           We're adding a fashion column with
           all the latest trends...Your
           dresses better be cute at next
           week's benefit!
          The women applaud and tap each other on their thighs.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Now it's time to choose a new
           editor for our new modern monthly.
          Skeeter braces herself as hands pop up everywhere. Jolene
          French stands.

                          JOLENE FRENCH
           I nominate Hilly Holbrook.
          Jolene looks back and snarls at Skeeter.

                          HILLY
           Jolene, you're the sweetest thing!

                          OTHER MEMBERS
           I second. I third. All in favor
           of Hilly, say "Aye."
          The room erupts.

                          MEMBERS
           Aye!
          Skeeter's ousting took less than ten seconds. Elizabeth
          secretly turns to Skeeter from a few rows ahead.

                          ELIZABETH

                          (MOUTHING)
           I'm so sorry.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - FRONT PORCH - MORNING

          Skeeter sits alone on the porch swing in her nightgown,
          shifting through the Miss Myrna letters.
          Charlotte steps onto the porch.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Honey, would you like me to drop
           you off at bridge club on the way
           to my doctor's appointment?

                          SKEETER

                          (COVERING)
           No, Ma'am. It's been cancelled.
           Mae Mobley's sick or something.

           88.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - LATER THAT DAY

          Bridge is underway at the Leefolt house. Aibileen enters
          holding a tray of coffee cups.
          Elizabeth, Hilly, Jolene and several other girls giggle as
          they kneel down behind furniture.

                          AIBILEEN
           Everything okay?
          Elizabeth looks back. Her belly is huge.

                          ELIZABETH
           Shhh!
          There's a knock at door.

           CELIA (O.C.)
           Elizabeth, it's me, Celia Foote. I
           was in the neighborhood and thought
           I'd drop by.
          The girls giggle more loudly now. Celia peers into the
          living room window.
          The bridge tables are in plain view. Celia's face grows
          pinker than her sweater.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           I...brought you a chocolate
           pie...My maid, Minny, made it.
          Hilly's face hardens...

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - KITCHEN - DAY

          Minny stands at the sink shelling peas. A distinct red cut
          is perched above her swollen eye.
          Celia sits at the kitchen table halfway through the pie.

                          CELIA
           They made me stand there like the
           vacuum man. Why, Minny?
          Minny freezes, keeping her face on the peas.

                          MINNY
           Because they know about you getting
           knocked up by Mister Johnny. They
           mad you married one a they mens.
           Especially since Mister Johnny and
           Miss Hilly had just broke up, too.

                          CELIA
           So, Hilly probably thinks I was
           fooling around with Johnny while
           they were still going steady.

           89.

                         

                          MINNY
           Missus Walters says Miss Hilly
           still sweet on Mister Johnny, too.
          Celia suddenly slaps her thigh with excitement.

                          CELIA
           No wonder! They don't hate
           me...They hate what they think I
           did!

                          MINNY
           They hate you cause they think
           you're white trash! And don't be
           takin' pies to those women!

                          CELIA
           Well, I'm just going to have to let
           Hilly know I'm not a boyfriend
           stealer. In fact, I'll tell her
           Friday night at the benefit.
          Celia rises and smiles like she just cured cancer.

                          MINNY
           Now, Miss Celia...please don't be
           going to that benefit.
          Celia gets some ice out of the fridge.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Did you hear what I said?
          Celia places the ice in a towel and approaches Minny. She
          looks at the cut above her eye.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           What are you doing?

                          CELIA
           That looks bad.

                          MINNY
           I got to get my work done.

                          CELIA
           I know you didn't fall in the tub,
           Minny. Let me take a look.
          Celia grabs Minny's hand. Minny pulls away.
          Just then Johnny pulls up in the driveway. Celia and Minny
          turn to the window, then spring into action.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - BATHROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Minny sits crouched on the lid of the guest bath toilet as
          Johnny chases Celia around the house. Celia giggles.

           90.

                         

           JOHNNY (O.C.)
           Come here, Sexy!

           CELIA(O.C.)
           Johnny, you are bad! Bad! Bad!
          Minny looks at the ridiculous image of herself crouching on
          the toilet in the bathroom mirror.
          She raises Celia's ice rag up to her swollen eye.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - NEXT AFTERNOON

          Skeeter enters quietly through Aibileen's kitchen door.
          She is surprised to see twenty other black women standing
          solemnly around the kitchen and the living room.
          Aibileen approaches with a worried look.

                          SKEETER
           What's wrong?

                          AIBILEEN
           Yule May in prison, Miss Skeeter.
           Gone be there four years.
          Minny shouts out across the kitchen.

                          MINNY
           Hilly Holbrook been sent from the
           devil to ruirn all our lives.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOME (FLASHBACK) - LIVING ROOM - DAY

          Hilly and the usual suspects play bridge at Hilly's house.
          Aibileen pours coffee an earshot away.

                          HILLY
           Please! A nigra walks in a pawn
           shop with a ring of such size and
           clarity. It took'em all of five
           minutes to figure out where she
           worked.
          Hilly leads the girls' nods of acknowledgement.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           I knew that girl was a thief the
           day she started.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          As Minny wipes her nose with her sleeve, Skeeter approaches.

                          SKEETER
           I'll ask daddy to get her a good
           lawyer.

           91.

                         

                          MINNY
           She had a lawyer. A white lawyer!
           But Miss Hilly friends with the
           judge's wife. Whole thing took two
           days. Arrested on Tuesday, in the
           state pen by Wednesday.

                          AIBILEEN
           The church gone send them boys to
           college. Gone pass the plate `til
           they graduate...
          The women part, making way as Aibileen leads Skeeter to a
          seat at the kitchen table.
          PEARLY, 58, sits next to Skeeter and touches her arm.

                          PEARLY
           I'm on help with your stories.
          Another WOMAN walks over.

                          BLACK WOMAN
           I'm on help too.
          Another woman speaks from the living room.

                          BLACK WOMAN 2
           We all are.
          Women of all ages slowly rise up and nod their heads. Skeeter
          looks around in awe.

                          SKEETER
           Thank you. I don't know what to-

                          MINNY

                          (STERNLY)
           They doing this for Yule May.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter sits and writes as Pearly begins the interviews.

                          PEARLY
           Been there thirty-eight years and
           Miss Margaret still makes me put my
           hair up in a rag. Say she know
           coloreds don't wash theys hair.
           But, I love her. She love me too.

                          DISSOLVE TO:

          CORA, 70.

                          CORA
           I had been workin' for Miss
           Jolene's mother up `til she died.
           Then her daughter, Miss Nancy,
           asked me to come work for her.
           Miss Nancy a real sweet lady.

           92.

                         

                          CORA (CONT'D)
           But her momma left it in the will
           that I had to work for her
           daughter, Miss Jolene. Miss Jolene
           a mean woman. Mean for sport. I
           tried to get another job, but in
           everbody mind, the French family
           and Miss Jolene owned me.

                          DISSOLVE TO:
          CALLIE, 60, takes off her glasses and wipes her eyes.

                          CALLIE
           I used to take a shortcut ever day
           to work at Doctor Dixon's house.
           Cut through this farmer's lower
           forty to get there. One day, that
           farmer was waitin' on me with a
           gun, said he'd shoot me dead if I
           walk on his land again. Doctor
           Dixon went and paid that farmer
           double for two a those acres. Told
           him he `bout to start farmin' too.
           But he bought it just for me. So I
           could get to work easy. He did.
          Skeeter closes her eyes for moment.
          When she opens them she sees A VISION OF CONSTANTINE STANDING

          BEFORE HER.
          Constantine smiles and grabs Skeeter's hand. She presses her
          thumb firmly in her palm. When Skeeter blinks again, the
          vision is gone.
          Standing in place of Constantine is GRETCHEN, 26.

                          GRETCHEN
           All these colored women have been
           real nice, haven't they?

                          SKEETER
           Yes. Very nice.

                          GRETCHEN
           Well, they hate you. You know
           this? Every little thing about
           you. But you're so dumb, you think
           you're doing them a favor.
          Skeeter and the other maids are taken aback.

                          SKEETER
           You don't have to do this.

                          GRETCHEN
           You know the nicest thing a white
           woman's ever done for me? Gave me
           the heel of her bread. These women
           are playing a trick on you.
           They'll never tell you the truth!

           93.

                         

                          SKEETER
           You don't know what they've said.

                          GRETCHEN
           Say it, lady, say the word you
           think every time one us stands in
           front of you. Nigger.
          Aibileen crosses over to Gretchen.

                          AIBILEEN
           That's enough, Gretchen.

                          GRETCHEN
           You just as dumb as she is.

                          AIBILEEN
           Get out a my house!

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - DAY

          Aibileen sits with Skeeter on the sofa reading and answering
          Miss Myrna letters. Aibileen is dressed very nicely.
          Several flower arrangements are placed around the room. An
          unwrapped present rests on the coffee table.

                          AIBILEEN
           Tell her to pour vinegar in her
           trash cans. Then them dogs will
           stay away.
          As Skeeter writes this down, someone walks onto Aibileen's
          front porch. Skeeter becomes worried. Aibileen looks to a
          wall clock and smiles.
          About a dozen letters and cards fall into a basket under the
          mail slot.
          Aibileen jumps up and starts sorting through the cards.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Today my birthday, Miss Skeeter.

                          SKEETER
           Well, happy birthday, Aibileen.
           You should have told me.

                          AIBILEEN
           And, from all over the county, my
           babies find they way home.
          Aibileen stops on one card in particular. She sits back down
          next to Skeeter.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Some even from overseas. Alton
           Spears lives in Paris now. Married
           him a real pretty French girl. Got
           five kids, too...they's my
           grandbabies.

           94.

                         
          Aibileen opens the card to find a twenty dollar bill inside
          along with a picture of the Spears family. Aibileen reads
          the card aloud.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           I still don't drink coffee. Happy
           Birthday. Love Alton.
          Aibileen laughs and raises her hand to her mouth. Skeeter is
          touched.
          The doorbell rings. Aibileen jumps up and opens the door. A
          delivery man greets her with two more vases of flowers.
          Aibileen looks out to the street where a white woman gets out
          of her car with a huge country ham. Two little girls in
          matching dresses jump out behind her.
          The woman sees Aibileen on the porch and waves. Aibileen
          waves back and smiles.
          Catching it all, the moment soon grows bittersweet for
          Skeeter. She wipes her eye.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - SKEETER'S BEDROOM - 3 WEEKS LATER

          Morning light shines into Skeeter's room. Stuart has
          returned from the rig. Fully clothed, he and Skeeter sleep
          on Skeeter's bed.
          Charlotte shouts Skeeter's name from down the hall.

           CHARLOTTE (O.C.)
           Eugenia?!
          Skeeter's eyes pop open. She's groggy and hasn't fully
          realized the company lying next to her.

                          SKEETER
           What?!
          Stuart throws his arm over Skeeter. Reality sinks in.
          Skeeter rolls over to find Stuart, eyes shut, smiling.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Oh my God! Oh my God!
          When Stuart tries to get up, Skeeter flattens him reaches
          down and pulls the covers up over his entire body.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           Don't move a muscle!
          Skeeter props up on her side and faces the door making sure
          the covers hide that she's clothed.
          Charlotte enters and heads straight for Skeeter's closet.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Morning, Sleepy Head.

           95.

                         

                          SKEETER
           Morning, Mom.
          Charlotte pulls out a dress and lays it on the bed, right on
          top of Stuart.

                          CHARLOTTE
           I thought you could take me to the
           doctor this morning and then we
           could get some lunch afterwards.

                          SKEETER
           Sure!
          Charlotte spies a LARGE TOE sticking out of the covers. It
          belongs to Stuart, but she assumes it's Skeeter's.

                          CHARLOTTE
           (looking at toe)
           Or...we could...go straight to
           Fanny Mae's for a girl day.

                          SKEETER
           Great! I'll get dressed.

                          CHARLOTTE
           When did Stuart leave last night?

                          SKEETER
           Right after you went to bed.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Well, I hope he knows he's welcome
           to stay in Carlton's old room.

                          SKEETER
           I'm not really ready for that yet.

                          CHARLOTTE
           "Bird in the hand," Eugenia. Bird.
           In. The. Hand...
          Charlotte exits and shuts the door.

                          STUART
           (under the covers.)
           Chirp. Chirp.
          Skeeter is mortified. Stuart sits up, grinning.

                          SKEETER
           Oh my God!
          Stuart tries to kiss Skeeter. She resists.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           My breath is horrible.

                          STUART
           So is mine.

           96.

                         
          Stuart embraces Skeeter and brings his lips close to hers.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           I love you.

                          SKEETER
           I love you, too.
          They kiss.

                         

          EXT. STREET - DOWNTOWN JACKSON - DAY

          A bank's clock shows twelve noon in downtown Jackson. It's
          eerily quiet, not a soul on the street...
          We hear archival footage of Walter Cronkite addressing the
          nation.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - LIVING ROOM - SAME DAY

          Minny stands at the top of a tall step ladder vacuuming
          Oscar's head.
          Celia runs into the living room. Tears stream down her face.
          Minny turns to Celia.
          Cronkite tells the nation that John F. Kennedy is dead.
          Minny's eyes roll back in her head as she starts to faint.
          She grabs on to Oscar's body and slides down to the floor.

                         

          EXT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - SAME DAY

          Hilly sits with her son William playing on a blanket on the
          front lawn.
          A neighbor suddenly pulls up in his car stopping in front of
          Hilly. He leans out and tells Hilly the tragic news.
          In complete disbelief, Hilly puts her hand over her mouth.
          She then grabs William, pulls him in close as if he's somehow
          in danger.

                         

          EXT. BUS STOP - LATER THAT DAY

          Aibileen huddles with a dozen other maids in a circle.
          They're all crying. Some throw their hands in the air.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - LIVING ROOM - THREE DAYS LATER

          Skeeter and Stuart sit solemnly with the Phelan family
          watching Cronkite's coverage of the Kennedy funeral.
          Skeeter's dad wipes tears from his eyes. Stuart checks the
          time and leans into Skeeter's ear.

           97.

                         

                          STUART
           Honey, I'm sorry, but I have to get
           down to the coast.
          Skeeter nods as Stuart kisses her.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           I'll be back in time for the
           benefit. Love you.

                          SKEETER
           You, too.
          We hear Walter Cronkite's parting thoughts on JFK.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Minny, Skeeter and Aibileen sit quietly compiling stories.
          Aibileen and Minny look up to Aibileen's framed picture of
          John F. Kennedy.
          Aibileen grows anxious. She suddenly jumps out of her chair
          and paces around the kitchen.

                          SKEETER
           Are you okay?

                          AIBILEEN
           The world done gone crazy, Miss
           Skeeter! And I'm scared! What if
           folks find out what we writing?
           Figure out Niceville really
           Jackson, and figure out who who?

                          SKEETER
           Aibileen. We've changed all the
           names.
          Aibileen snaps.

                          AIBILEEN
           Y'all two gone sit there and tell
           me you one hundred percent without
           a doubt sure `bout all this?!
          Skeeter looks away..

                          MINNY
           No...So I been thinking...Maybe we
           need us some insurance.
          Skeeter look to Minny.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           I told God I'd never speak of it
           again. But we got no choice. It's
           time...Time to tell you both "the
           terrible awful" I did to Miss
           Hilly. It might be the only thing
           to protect us.

           98.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE (FLASHBACK) - KITCHEN - 6 MONTHS EARLIER

          We continue with the earlier flashback where Minny arrives at
          Hilly's with her famed chocolate pie. Hilly leads Minny into
          the kitchen, Missus Walters follows behind.
          Hilly slices a big piece and grabs a fork. She leans against
          the counter and takes a big bite.

                          HILLY
           Nobody wanted to hire a sass-
           mouthing, thieving nigra, did they?
          Minny stands silent as Hilly finishes in three bites.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Pie's as good as always, Minny.

                          MINNY
           I'm glad you like it.
          Hilly cuts another piece for herself.

                          HILLY
           If...I take you back, I'll have to
           cut your pay five dollars a week.
          Not expecting this, Minny leans away from Hilly.

                          MINNY
           Take me back?
          Hilly takes an even bigger bite from the second slice.

                          HILLY
           What do you put in here that makes
           it taste so good?

                          MINNY
           That good vanilla from Mexico...
          Minny's eyes narrow over a forced smile.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           And...something else real special.
          Missus Walters grabs a plate and reaches for the pie.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           No, Missus Walters. That Miss
           Hilly's special pie.

                          HILLY
           Momma can have a piece.
          Hilly slides the pie a little too fast down the counter
          toward Minny. Minny stops it before it falls to the floor.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Cut her one.

           99.

                         

                          MINNY

                          (IMMEDIATELY)
           Eat my shit.
          Hilly calmly sets her plate down on the counter.

                          HILLY
           What did you say?

                          MINNY
           I said eat my shit!

                          HILLY
           Have you lost your mind?!
          Minny moves toward Hilly.

                          MINNY
           No. But you're about to,
           `cause you just did.
          Minny nods smugly as she looks down at Hilly's slice.

                          HILLY
           Did what?
          Missus Walters immediately gets it. She bursts out laughing
          so hard she has to lower herself to the floor.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           Well, Hilly, that's what you get, I
           guess. And you didn't just eat
           one. You ate two slices!
          Hilly starts to hyperventilate as everything sinks in.
          As Minny leaves, Hilly runs to the sink and throws up.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen and Skeeter are speechless.

                          AIBILEEN
           You trying to get yourself killed?!

                          MINNY
           No! I never planned to tell her!
           I just wanted to see her take a
           bite and leave so I could be done
           with her. Forever! She was never
           supposed to ask me back.
          Minny eyes narrow.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           And, then for less pay! That got
           me even madder. And, then she went
           slid that pie at me. Oh lord!
           That was it! I just lost control,
           Aibileen...you know how I get, now.

           100.

                         

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           So, before I knew it, it just came
           on out my mouth...and I had tolt
           her what was in that pie.
          Aibileen looks to Skeeter shaking her head. Minny suddenly
          gets misty. She wipes her eyes.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           I've asked God to forgive me. But,
           more for what happened to poor
           Missus Walters. Miss Hilly threw
           her in that nursing home just for
           laughing.

                          AIBILEEN

                          (GRAVELY)
           We can't put that story in the
           book.

                          SKEETER
           It's too dangerous, Minny.

                          MINNY
           We need insurance! Hilly Holbrook
           can't never let people know that
           pie story is about her.

                          AIBILEEN
           Exactly! If people find out "The
           Terrible Awful" was you and Miss
           Hilly, then we in trouble. Trouble
           there ain't words for!

                          MINNY
           Right! But don't you see? Miss
           Hilly gone go to her grave
           convincing people this book ain't
           about Jackson. Then we safe,
           insured!
          Minny gets up and walks toward Aibileen.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           You brought me into this, and I'm
           on finish it! Either put it in or
           pull my parts out all together.
          Minny storms out of Aibileen's kitchen.

                         

          INT. HARPER ROW PUBLISHING/PANTRY (INTERCUT) - DAY

          Miss Stein talks to Skeeter on the phone.

                          MISS STEIN
           The last editor's meeting is
           December 17th. If you want a
           chance of this getting read, I need
           it in my hands by then.

                          SKEETER
           But that's in a week, Miss Stein!

           101.

                         

                          MISS STEIN
           Otherwise it goes in The Pile. You
           don't want it in The Pile.

                          SKEETER
           Yes, Ma'am.

                          MISS STEIN
           And you must get a piece in about
           the domestic who raised you. It'll
           add something personal to it.
          Skeeter nods with frustration.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - BALLROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          The African Children's Benefit Ball is well underway.
          The energy and look of the two hundred attendees feel like a
          throwback to the women's suffrage movement. Many older women
          wear heavy long black skirts and jackets.
          Hilly wears swathes of maroon-colored taffeta. Ruffles
          clutch her throat. She stands next to Jolene French and a

          WLBT CAMERAMAN.
          Dressed to the nines, Jolene raises a microphone and looks
          into the camera.

                          JOLENE
           This is Jolene French reporting
           from the African Children's Benefit
           Ball, and I'm here with League
           President Miss Hilly Holbrook.

                          HILLY
           Thanks, Jolene...
          Three dozen servers stand in a line. Minny and Aibileen are
          among them.
          Tables are covered with items donated for the auction.
          On the baked goods table, Minny's famed chocolate pie
          promises to again be a big money maker.
          Celia and Johnny enter the ballroom. Celia wears a hideous,
          pink and silver sequined gown. As usual, Celia's breasts
          command attention.
          The room locks on Celia as specks of light bounce off her
          dress and jiggle across the ceiling.
          A TITILLATED OLD HUSBAND tips his martini onto his wife's
          shoe.

                          OLD HUSBAND
           (a little too loudly)
           Look at the jugs on that one!

           102.

                         
          Other wives dig fingernails into husbands' arms. The man's
          wife responds louder.

                          OLD WIFE
           Bosoms are for bedrooms and breast-
           feeding. Not occasions of dignity.
          Celia downs a glass of champagne and leans into Johnny.

                          CELIA
           Do you think I might have
           overdressed a little? It's
           supposed to be formal, but this
           looks like a funeral.

                          JOHNNY
           You look gorgeous.
          Minny pulls Aibileen aside and points to Celia.

                          MINNY
           Look what she got on.
          Celia grabs more champagne from a passing server.

                          AIBILEEN
           Lord have mercy. Ladies better
           hold onto they husbands tonight.
          Celia catches eyes with Minny. She smiles and nods quickly
          and then looks away, careful not to tip off Johnny of their
          relationship.

                          MINNY

                          (REGARDING JOHNNY)
           And that's the man that don't even
           know he's paying me.
          Skeeter enters with Stuart. She wears a long-sleeved black
          velvet dress and her hair is being somewhat cooperative.

                          AIBILEEN
           There's Skeeter and that must be
           Stuart. He's handsome... Missus
           Walters?!
          Missus Walters enters wearing a floor-length blue beaded
          gown, circa 1943. A white orchid wilts at her clavicle.

                          MINNY
           Hilly can throw her in a home, but
           she can't keep the taxis away.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - BALLROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Celia approaches Elizabeth and Jolene who talk next to a
          punch bowl. Celia is now drinking some kind of pink drink
          with an umbrella sticking out of it.

                          CELIA
           Well, hello, Elizabeth.

           103.

                         

                          ELIZABETH
           Hi.
          Elizabeth's homemade maternity ball gown resembles a velvet
          potato sack cinched with red ribbon.

                          CELIA
           Those are lovely dresses.

                          JOLENE
           Yours too.

                          CELIA
           Really?! I was worried I was a tad
           overdressed.
          Jolene reaches out an pats Celia's shoulder.

                          JOLENE
           Oh, no. You're just perfect.
          Elizabeth pulls Jolene away. Celia downs her drink.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - BALLROOM - LATER THAT EVENING

          The guests are now seated at twenty-eight round tables.
          Scores of black servers dressed in tuxedos ferry plates.
          Hilly makes her way to the podium.

                          HILLY
           Everybody enjoying their dinner?
          The room claps enthusiastically.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)

                          (FLATLY)
           Let's give a nice round of applause
           for all the men and women that have
           helped make tonight possible.
          Hilly mechanically gestures toward the servers in the room.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           A cause I'm sure is dear to their
           hearts as well.
          Skeeter shakes her head as the less inspired applause dies
          down. Celia waves to Minny and jumps out of her chair.

                          CELIA
           Woo-hoo!
          Johnny grabs Celia by the arm and pulls her back down. Celia
          reaches for Johnny's glass of wine.

                          JOHNNY
           Honey, maybe you've had enough to
           drink. Try to eat your dinner.

           104.

                         

                          CELIA
           And have my stomach poke out?!

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - LATER THAT EVENING

          As Celia looks at the prize table's bids, Johnny and Stuart
          lean against a bar chatting with a few other bored men.
          Hilly suddenly slides next to Johnny completely ignoring
          Stuart.

                          HILLY
           Why, Johnny Foote. I'm surprised
           to see you here. Everybody knows
           you can't stand parties like this.
          Hilly squeezes the crook of his arm.

                          JOHNNY
           Celia wouldn't have missed this for
           anything.

                          HILLY
           Where is that wife of yours? Out
           selling hotdogs?
          Johnny looks away.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Oh, you know I'm teasing you. We
           dated long enough where I can do
           that, can't I?
          Johnny walks away leaving Hilly no choice but to acknowledge
          Stuart. She and Stuart never look each other's way.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)

                          (FLATLY)
           Stuart.

                          STUART

                          (FLATTER)
           Hilly.
          Hilly walks away as Jolene approaches the podium.

                          JOLENE
           I've got the list of winners!

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - BALLROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Jolene finishes up the winners list.

                          JOLENE
           I hope you enjoy your new set of
           tires, Missus Atwell. Now, on to
           the baked goods.
          Jolene flips a page.

           105.

                         

                          JOLENE (CONT'D)
           Oh, yum! Yum! The highest bid in
           baked goods goes to Minny Jackson's
           chocolate pie. Congratulations,
           Hilly Holbrook!
          The room erupts in applause. Hilly now sits at a table with
          her family, Missus Walters, and the Leefolts.
          Skeeter and Stuart sit at a table full of elderly people they
          don't know.
          Minny clears dishes nearby. Hearing her name, she becomes
          very alert.

                          HILLY
           What? I didn't bid on anything.
          Minny turns to find Hilly smiling at her tightly.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Well, wasn't that sweet. Someone
           signed me up for that pie.

                          SKEETER

                          (TO STUART)
           Oh, no.
          Celia rushes up behind Hilly, her voice slurred.

                          CELIA
           Congratulations, Hilly! I didn't
           know you're a fan of Minny's pies.
          Hilly remains calm. Celia grabs Hilly's long sleeve.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           I've wanted to talk to you all
           night. Minny told me why you won't
           be my friend. You think me and
           Johnny went behind your back.

                          HILLY
           Let me go!
          Hilly stands up and pulls away. A ripping sound cuts through
          the air.
          Celia stares at Hilly's torn cuff in her hands.

                          STUART
           Oh, God.

                          CELIA
           I'm so sorry.

                          HILLY

                          (GRITTED TEETH)
           What are you trying to do to me?
           What are you and that nigra up to?

           106.

                         
          Jolene announces another round of winners loudly over the
          microphone, forcing Celia to raise her voice.

                          CELIA
           I don't know what you-

                          HILLY
           -You liar! Who did you tell?!
          Jolene loses her place on the list. The room grows quiet but
          Celia is still yelling.

                          CELIA
           Hilly, I got pregnant after you and
           Johnny broke up!
          The room echoes with Celia's words. Across the room, women's
          noses wrinkle.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           Oh, shit.

                          HILLY
           Shut up, Mother.
          Stuart belts out with a laugh. Skeeter pinches his arm.
          Celia is mortified. Sweat beads on her forehead.

                          CELIA
           Johnny never cheated on you...At
           least, not with me.
          Celia starts to breathe heavily. Her eyes start to water.

                          HILLY
           Johnny would never-

                          CELIA
           And I'm sorry I thought you'd be
           tickled to win that pie.

                          HILLY
           You tell that nigra if she tells
           anybody, I will make her suffer.
          Horrified, Skeeter catches eyes with Minny and Aibileen.
          They all immediately look away.
          Johnny makes his way over. Celia holds her breath, shaking
          her head back and forth.

                          JOHNNY
           Celia, what's wrong, Honey?

                          CELIA
           Uh-oh.
          Celia leans over and vomits on the fleur-de-lis print carpet.
          The entire room gasps in horror.

           107.

                         

                          JOHNNY
           Oh, shit!
          Johnny tries to pull Celia back. She pushes Johnny away and
          runs for the bathroom. He follows.
          Hilly marches over to Aibileen who is standing nearby.

                          HILLY
           Get that cleaned up before it
           starts to smell.

                          AIBILEEN
           Yes, ma'am.

                         

          INT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - KITCHEN - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Minny's daughter, Sugar, stands over a large commercial sink
          filled with sudsy water, washing dishes.
          Minny approaches from behind as Sugar holds court with five
          other young girls.

                          SUGAR
           That big-boobed lady Momma works
           for was drunker than an Injun on
           payday. Upchucked in front a
           everbody!
          As the girls all laugh, Minny pops Sugar hard on the back of
          her head.

                          MINNY
           Don't you never let me hear you
           talking bad about the lady who puts
           food in your mouth. Clothes on
           your back! You hear me?
          Minny storms off.

                          SUGAR

                          (TO HERSELF)
           You do it all the time.

                         

          EXT. ROBERT E. LEE HOTEL - PARKING LOT - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Hilly and William walk to their car. Missus Walters follows
          closely behind, holding Minny's pie.

                          HILLY
           Just come on home and stay with us
           tonight, Mother.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           No thanks, I got a pie to eat.
          Hilly spins around and sees the pie.

           108.

                         

                          HILLY
           You throw that pie away right now!

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           I spent good money on this. Won it
           just for you...

                          HILLY
           You?! You signed me up?
          Missus Walters steps up to Hilly.

                          MISSUS WALTERS
           I may have trouble remembering my
           own name and what country I live
           in. But there's two things I can't
           seem to forget. That my own
           daughter threw me in a nursing
           home...And that she ate Minny's
           shit.
          Missus Walters winks at Hilly and ambles to a waiting taxi
          cab.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - BEDROOM - NEXT AFTERNOON

          Celia lies in bed with the covers pulled over her face.
          Minny enters carrying a tray of food, setting it down next to
          two other trays of uneaten food.

                          MINNY
           Ain't Mister Johnny gone wonder how
           dinner got on the table if you laid
           up in bed?
          Celia pulls the covers off her head and sits up a little.

                          CELIA
           The way Hilly looked at me. Like I
           was trash on the road.
          Celia pulls a letter out from under the covers.

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           She billed me for her dress. In
           lieu of payment, she's asked that I
           send two-hundred dollars to the
           African Children's Fund and then
           she banned me from all future
           League events.

                          MINNY
           She don't count. Don't judge
           yourself by the way she see you.

                          CELIA
           I'm not right for this kind of
           life, Minny. I don't need a dinner
           table for twelve people.

           109.

                         

                          CELIA (CONT'D)
           I couldn't get two people over here
           if I begged. She called me a liar
           and accused me of getting her that
           pie. I wouldn't have thrown up if
           it wasn't for that! I can't do
           this anymore to Johnny. I'm going
           back to Sugar Ditch.

                          MINNY
           You gone leave your husband cause
           you threw up at some party?
          Celia sobs.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Lord, I reckon it's time you knew.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Celia stares at Minny, wide-eyed and disgusted.

                          MINNY
           Miss Hilly thought you knew `bout
           "The Terrible Awful," that you were
           making fun a her. It's my fault
           she pounced on you. But if you
           leave Mister Johnny, then Miss
           Hilly done won the whole ball game.
           Then she done beat me, and she done
           beat you.
          Celia lies there. Minny's concerned she's said too much.

                          CELIA
           Thank you. For telling me that.

                         

          INT. ROOSEVELT HOTEL - NEW ORLEANS - ONE WEEK LATER

          Stuart lies on a bed inside the Presidential Suite of the
          Roosevelt Hotel. He's on the phone with Skeeter.

                          STUART
           Hey, Honey.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION (INTERCUT) - KITCHEN - SAME TIME

          Skeeter talks to Stuart. Pascagoula cooks breakfast.

                          SKEETER
           Stuart! How are you calling me?
           Aren't you on the rig?

                          STUART
           What if I told you I have twenty-
           four hours in New Orleans?

           110.

                         

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           That I'm in the Presidential Suite
           of the Roosevelt Hotel...That we
           have dinner reservations in the
           Blue Room tonight and lunch
           tomorrow at Galatoires.
          Skeeter becomes troubled...

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           Did you hear me? I spoke to your
           dad, and he's gonna have Jameso
           drive you down right now.

                          SKEETER
           Oh, Stuart.

                          STUART
           What?

                          SKEETER
           I have to work.

                          STUART
           Work in the car. Jesus, Skeeter,
           it's a cleaning column.

                          SKEETER
           I have a deadline, Sweetie. You
           should have asked me about this.

                          STUART
           I'm trying to be romantic...

                          SKEETER
           I'm sorry, Honey. I can't come.
          Stuart shakes his head and hangs up the phone.

                         

          INT. FAYE BELLE'S HOME - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Aibileen and Skeeter sit across from, FAYE BELLE, 101,
          palsied and gray skinned and hunched in a wheelchair.
          Aibileen grabs Faye Belle's hand stirring a sudden flash of
          memory. Her voice is coarse and hard to understand.

                          FAYE BELLE
           I remember hiding with Miss Lilia
           in a steamer trunk while Yankee
           soldiers stomped through Master's
           house. We were both four. Eighty-
           five years later she died in my
           arms. We's were friends `til the
           end. Her grandson still pays my
           rent. Buys all my groceries too.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - KITCHEN - LATER THAT NIGHT

          The manuscript sits before Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter.

           111.

                         

                          SKEETER
           I have one more story to type, but
           other than that, we are done.

                          AIBILEEN
           Law, look at all them pages. Two-
           hundred and sixty-six of `em.

                          MINNY
           Now we just wait and see? Hopin'
           Missus Stein publish it?
          Skeeter nods.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           What story you got left to type?

                          SKEETER
           Mine.
          Aibileen looks at Skeeter.

                          AIBILEEN
           If your momma won't tell you, I
           reckon I will.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Red-eyed, Skeeter enters Charlotte's room. A bowl rests on
          the bedside table with a wet rag draped over the side.
          Charlotte is wig free and terribly thin. Her collarbone
          protrudes long and narrow, but her eyes are as sharp as ever.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Have you been crying? You know
           that ages your skin, Dear.

                          SKEETER
           Mother, I need to talk to you about
           Constantine.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Oh, Eugenia. That was so long ago.

                          SKEETER
           Well, I have to speak to her.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Now, you look. I was good to
           Constantine. Oh, she talked back
           plenty of times, and I put up with
           it. But, Skeeter, she didn't give
           me a choice...

                          SKEETER
           What...happened?

           112.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION (FLASHBACK) LIVING ROOM - DAY

          Charlotte, much healthier, scurries around the house
          adjusting flower arrangements and straightening pictures.

           CHARLOTTE (V.O.)
           I was hosting a D.A.R. luncheon.
           Constantine was to do the floors
           that morning so they'd be dry in
           time.
          Charlotte finds Constantine mopping the foyer very slowly.
          The effects of arthritis are apparent.

           CHARLOTTE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Well, the floors were soaking wet
           when the first guest arrived.
          A guest unnecessarily grabs a table for balance, making a
          point about the damp floor...

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION (FLASHBACK) DINING ROOM - DAY

          Charlotte sits with twelve women at the dining table as
          Constantine pushes the casserole cart around and begins
          serving lunch.
          As the guests sip coffee, each woman grimaces and turns to
          Charlotte.

           CHARLOTTE (V.O.)
           Then, she burned the coffee. She
           had gotten so old, Skeeter.
          Charlotte shoots Constantine a look. Constantine nods
          sorrowfully. She picks up a woman's plate and begins filling
          it with food from the cart very slowly.
          Constantine strains to lower the plate in front of the woman.
          Her hands tremble.

           CHARLOTTE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           Her mishaps were becoming a daily
           occurrence, and I had had it.
          The plate tilts causing peas to pour into the woman's lap.

                          WOMAN
           Watch out!
          With that, Charlotte stands up and slaps the table with her
          hand.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Get a hold of yourself,
           Constantine!
          Constantine slowly looks to Charlotte. Totally exhausted,
          she grips the casserole cart with both hands to steady
          herself.

           113.

                         

           CHARLOTTE (V.O.) (CONT'D)
           And that's when it happened.
          Constantine wets herself.
          Slowly the women begin realizing what's happening. The two
          women closest to Constantine gasp and quickly move away from
          her.
          Another woman rises from the table covering her mouth with a
          napkin and leaves the room.
          Just now realizing what has happened, Constantine looks down
          at her soiled dress. No one says a word. No one comes to
          Constantine's aid.
          Constantine looks to Charlotte.

                         

          EXT. COUNTRY ROAD (FLASHBACK) - MOMENTS LATER

          Constantine hobbles with a cane down a gravel road still
          wearing her soiled dress. She turns and looks one last time
          at the Phelan Plantation...

                          CHARLOTTE
           I told her she couldn't work here
           anymore and to go on home.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - BEDROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter trembles. Charlotte won't look at her.

                          SKEETER
           How could you humiliate her like
           that?!

                          CHARLOTTE
           I didn't mean to.

                          SKEETER
           Why didn't you help her?

                          CHARLOTTE
           I was upset. I didn't know what
           else to do.

                          SKEETER
           So you just threw her away? That
           woman did you the biggest favor of
           your life. She taught me kindness
           and self respect and you just threw
           her away like a broken appliance.
          Charlotte starts to cry. Skeeter isn't affected.

           114.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           I didn't throw her away, Skeeter.
           Your daddy went to her house the
           very next day to give her her job
           back. But she had already moved to
           Chicago. Left everything behind.

                          SKEETER
           `Cause she didn't have anything
           anymore. You broke her heart!

                          CHARLOTTE
           Please don't do this to me,
           Skeeter. I feel terrible. And you
           have to remember, they're not like
           us. They are different.
          Charlotte gets defensive.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           And you idolized her too much! You
           always have!

                          SKEETER
           I needed somebody to look up to.
          Skeeter turns to leave.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           I have to go find her. She needs
           me.

                          CHARLOTTE
           We finally found the address of her
           daughter in Chicago...so we sent
           Carlton up there to go get
           Constantine.
          Skeeter turns back to her mother.

                          SKEETER
           And?

                          CHARLOTTE
           When he got there...she was dead,
           Eugenia. I'm so sorry, Honey.
          Charlotte tries to comfort her. Skeeter rejects her mother's
          hand.

                          SKEETER
           Why didn't y'all tell me all this?

                          CHARLOTTE
           I knew you'd blame me...when it
           wasn't my fault. It just happened,
           and it was so unfortunate. I'm
           sorry, Eugenia.

                          SKEETER
           When did she die? How long had she
           been in Chicago?

           115.

                         
          Charlotte pulls the white basin closer, hugs it to her side.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Two weeks.
          Skeeter stands, never turning as she exits.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - PATIO - MOMENTS LATER

          Skeeter stands on the back patio crying. She slowly walks
          off into the yard.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Constantine's story finally made it
           in our book. But the reason she
           got fired did not. Miss Skeeter
           just couldn't put that kind a shame
           on her own mother.

                         

          EXT. BOOKSTORE - DOWNTOWN JACKSON - SIX MONTHS LATER

          The front window of a bookstore displays many of the nation's
          top selling books.
          A clerk sets a tiny stack of books in the far corner.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           They printed a few thousand copies
           with the worst advance Miss Stein
           had ever seen.
          The stack is "The Help," in hardcover. It's wrapped in pale
          blue. A white peace dove spreads its wing under the title.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S HOME - LIVING ROOM - DAY

          Minny stands over the stove frying chicken as Sugar enters
          with the day's mail. Minny snatches the mail from her and
          sees an envelope from Harper and Row.
          Minny tears it open. Her eyes go wide.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           We got four hundred dollars. Got
           another four hundred when it got
           printed. Divided thirteen ways
           that came to sixty-one fifty-three
           a person.
          Minny hugs Sugar and runs out the screen door with her check
          as the chicken sizzles.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOME - KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen and Minny hug each other as the jump up and down
          with checks in hand.

           116.

                         

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Minny got so excited she burnt up a
           skillet of chicken.

                         

          EXT. FOOTE ESTATE - FRONT PORCH - DAY

          Minny knocks on the door holding bags of groceries.

                          MINNY
           Come on, Miss Celia! Get out a
           that bed and let me in. It's
           twelve noon. I did all the
           shopping just like you asked.
          The door slowly opens. Celia steps out onto the porch,
          looking beautiful, still dressed tacky.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Well, look at you, Miss Celia.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Celia leads Minny into the dining room. The table, set
          beautifully in silver and crystal, is covered with delicious
          looking casseroles and fried chicken.

                          MINNY
           What's all this?

                          CELIA
           I cooked it all by myself. I wanted
           to do something special. I wanted
           to say "thank you."

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - DINING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Celia and Minny dine, and Minny's enjoying it.

                          MINNY
           Greens got just the right amount a
           hock taste to `em. That's a good
           pot liquor, Miss Celia. Who taught
           you to cook like this?
          Minny winks as she dunks a piece of corn bread in the greens.

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           Corn bread's happy now.
          Celia lays down her fork.

                          CELIA
           Are you happy, Minny?

                          MINNY
           Why you ask such a funny question?

           117.

                         

                          CELIA
           Are you?

                          MINNY
           A course I's happy. You happy too.
           Big house, big yard, good husband.

                          CELIA
           You know, if I were you, I'd give
           it right back to him. I'd hit him
           over the head with a skillet and
           tell him to go straight to hell...
          Minny starts to protest but is tired of excuses.

                          MINNY
           Maybe I will.
          Celia jumps up.

                          CELIA
           I almost forgot the dessert.
          Minny smiles softly as Celia disappears into the kitchen.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - LATER THAT DAY

          Aibileen irons as Elizabeth enters with shopping bags.
          She races to the television and turns it on. As the tube
          warms up, we hear the conclusion of a Tide commercial.
          WLBT's lunchtime show, "People Will Talk," continues.

          INTERCUT WITH STUDIO, LEEFOLT HOME, HILLY'S HOME, AND ALL

          OTHER VIEWERS' HOMES.

                         

          INT. WLBT TELEVISION STUDIO - MOMENTS LATER

          Jolene French sits on the set of Jackson's morning show. A
          MALE HOST watches as the show runner counts down.

                          SHOW RUNNER
           Five, four, three, two, one.

                          MALE HOST
           Welcome back to "People Will Talk."
           And do we have something to talk
           about. Jolene has quite a book to
           review.
          Jolene shakes her head, visibly upset.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - SAME TIME

          Hilly watches Jolene on television as her new maid,
          ERNESTINE, pours a cup of coffee with her right hand.

           118.

                         
          Ernestine's left arm is missing. The maid pickings for Hilly
          have gotten slim.

                          HILLY
           Why are you frowning, Jolene?
          Hilly leans over and taps her television.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           You don't look cute that way.

                         LEEFOLT HOUSE

                          MALE HOST
           It's called "The Help." A new book
           by an anonymous author.
          Aibileen jerks her head toward the television.

           MALE HOST (CONT'D)
           Touching and enlightening, it's
           filled with testimonials from
           Mississippi's own housekeepers.

                         

          INT. FOOTE ESTATE - LIVING ROOM - SAME TIME

          Minny watches transfixed as she and Celia eat dessert in
          front of the television.

                          CELIA
           Look how cute that dress is.

                          MALE HOST
           Takes place in the fictional town
           of "Niceville." The book is
           dedicated to C and T. If you're
           out there C and T, we'd love to
           have you on the show because
           Niceville sounds like Jackson, if
           you ask me.
          The host starts laughing. Jolene snaps.

                          JOLENE FRENCH
           It's not Jackson! It's a disgrace
           to the South! A disgrace to good
           Southern women who've spent their
           lives taking care of their help.

                         LEEFOLT HOME
          Smoke rises from the shirt Aibileen is ironing. She snaps to
          attention, pulls the iron off the burned shirt.

                          MALE HOST
           But did you read that ending?

                          JOLENE FRENCH
           I know I personally treat my help
           like family, and every one of my
           friends does the same.

           119.

                         

                          MALE HOST

                          (INTO CAMERA)
           Bertha, if you're listening, I have
           a new found respect for what you
           do. And, believe me, I'll be
           passin' on dessert at your table!

          FOOTE LIVING ROOM
          Minny walks like a zombie over to Celia and gathers her dirty
          plate, never taking her eyes off the television.

                          JOLENE FRENCH
           Do not buy this book! Ladies of
           Jackson, do not support slander
           with your husband's hard earned-
          Poof! Jolene disappears by way of a Seal-Lily ice cream
          commercial.

                         HILLY'S HOME

                          HILLY
           Don't cut her off like that.

                         LEEFOLT HOME

                          ELIZABETH
           What's that book called, Aibileen?

                          AIBILEEN
           I...I wasn't paying attention.

                         

          INT. BOOKSTORE - LATER THAT DAY

          Stacks of "The Help" rest on tables in the store.
          Elizabeth enters, pick up two copies and pulls them close to
          her body.
          She races to the register like a teen buying a Playboy.

          TIME LAPSE PHOTOGRAPHY
          Back at the table of books, we see in rapid succession the
          books quickly disappearing by the hands of Jacksonians.

                         

          INT - AIBILEEN'S HOME - KITCHEN - THAT NIGHT
          Aibileen, Skeeter and Minny sit at the table. Aibileen's
          phone rings off the wall, but she won't answer.

                          SKEETER
           I knew nothing about it. Miss
           Stein's P.R. Department called the
           station directly.

           120.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Ever maid callin' to say they white
           lady's gone and bought the book.
           They so scared.

                          MINNY
           `One-arm-Earnestine' said Miss
           Leefolt brought a copy over to Miss
           Hilly in less than a hour. She
           better read it quick and start the
           "this ain't Jackson crusade."

                          SKEETER
           Don't count on it. In her one year
           at Ole Miss she never cracked a
           book.

                          MINNY
           Oh, she gone read it. Especially
           after that man made such a stink on
           the tee-vee. She gone read it.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME/HOLBROOK HOME (INTERCUT) - DAY

          Elizabeth and Hilly read the book aloud over the phone with
          each other.
          They stop and nod with speculation.

                         

          INT. BUS - DAY

          A bus is filled with domestics en route to work. Everyone is
          either reading the book or having it read to them.

                         

          INT. NURSING HOME - NIGHT

          Missus Walters reads to a group of women in the home.

                         

          INT. PHELAN HOME BEDROOM - NIGHT

          Charlotte lies in bed reading the book next to Robert, who is
          asleep.
          As she turns a page, her face reveals a dawning realization.
          Troubled, she starts to wake Robert but doesn't.
          Charlotte trembles as she brings the book in close to her
          chest.
          She slides down to her pillow and stares at the ceiling.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - PORCH - DUSK

          Skeeter sits on the swing with Stuart who's just arrived from
          the rig, still wearing his dingy work clothes.

           121.

                         

                          STUART
           That month felt like a year. I
           missed you so much.

                          SKEETER
           Me, too.

                          STUART
           Skeeter, I told Daddy I'm not going
           back on the rig.
          Stuart nonchalantly pulls out a ring from his front pocket
          and places it in Skeeter's lap.
          A huge diamond is surrounded by twelve small sapphires.
          Skeeter's smile quickly fades as she raises the ring.

                          SKEETER
           Stuart...I have to tell you
           something.

                          STUART
           How about "yes?!" I had this with
           me down in New Orleans, you know.
          Skeeter touches Stuart's face.

                          SKEETER
           I'm serious...and...you have to
           promise not to tell anyone.

                          STUART
           Hang on. Did you say `yes'?

                          SKEETER
           Yes.
          Stuart hugs Skeeter. She pulls back.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           But listen. Can I have your word?
          Skeeter has again ruined Stuart's big moment.

                          STUART
           Sure. You have my word.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - PORCH - MOMENTS LATER

          Stuart storms off the porch, dumbfounded. Finally.

                          STUART
           This is what you've been writing
           for the last twelve months?! What
           happened to the cleaning column?

                          SKEETER
           I did both.

           122.

                         
          Skeeter approaches Stuart.

                          STUART
           So, the talk in town? I said they
           were dead wrong. Told them you
           were too smart to get mixed up in
           anything like that.
          Skeeter reaches to calm him. He pulls away.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           That joke you played on Hilly with
           the toilets. Hell, that's funny.
           But this? I don't understand why
           you did this...why you even care.

                          SKEETER
           What?

                          STUART
           Things are fine around here. Why
           stir up trouble?

                          SKEETER
           I'm not stirring up trouble,
           Stuart. Trouble's already here.

                          STUART
           I guess it is.
          Skeeter grabs his arm.

                          SKEETER
           I had to tell you. You needed to
           know.
          Stuart shakes his head and pulls away...

                          STUART
           I guess I don't really know you,
           Skeeter. And I can't marry somebody
           I don't know.
          Stuart looks down at the ring.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           That was my grandmother's.
          Skeeter hands the ring back. Stuart shoves it in his pocket.

                          STUART (CONT'D)
           Don't worry. I won't tell anyone.

                          SKEETER
           Just leave.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Charlotte sits in bed next to Robert who is fast asleep. She
          hears a door closing outside.

           123.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           Skeeter?! Come in here, please.
          After a few moments, Skeeter enters.

                          SKEETER
           You okay? Can I get you anything?

                          CHARLOTTE
           Come here, Eugenia. I want to tell
           you something.

                          SKEETER
           Me, too.

                          CHARLOTTE
           You go first.

                          SKEETER
           Stuart proposed.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Finally!

                          SKEETER
           You knew?

                          CHARLOTTE
           Of course. He had to ask Daddy for
           your hand.
          She lifts Skeeter's ring hand. Seeing her bare finger,
          Charlotte's smile fades. Skeeter prepares for the worst.

                          SKEETER
           Just say it.

                          CHARLOTTE
           What did you do?!

                          SKEETER
           Nothing!
          Skeeter stands to walk away.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Young lady, I'm talking to you!
          Skeeter sits back down...

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Stuart'll come around. It's a funny
           dance.
           (points to Robert )
           Took this one a year. Anyway, my
           news. After a long talk with your
           daddy, I've made a decision. My
           health's been on the uptick these
           past few weeks. And I know the
           doctor says it's some kind of last

                          STRENGTH NONSENSE-

           124.

                         
          Charlotte starts coughing. Skeeter hands her a tissue.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           But, as I said, I made a decision.
           I have decided not to die.

                          SKEETER
           Oh, Momma.
          Charlotte slaps her palms as if throwing the cancer away.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Too late. I tried calling Fanny
           Mae's so I could make your hair
           appointments for the next twenty
           years, but they wouldn't allow it.
          Charlotte raises Skeeter's ring finger.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           I certainly can't leave you now.
          Skeeter laughs and hugs her mother. Robert never stirs.

                         

          EXT. GROCERY STORE - PARKING LOT - DAY

          Hilly drives in front of Jitney Jingle grocery store. She
          wears a scarf on her head and big sunglasses. One-armed
          Ernestine rides in the passenger seat.
          Hilly slows in front of the store's big glass entrance. She
          hurriedly waves Ernestine out of the car.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           The voters of Hinds County had
           spoke. Mister Holbrook wasn't gone
           have no political career.
          One-Arm Ernestine races to the storefront and removes
          William's campaign poster taped to the window.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - BEDROOM - LATER THAT NIGHT

          Hilly reads the book in bed. William is fast asleep.
          Suddenly, her eyes widen, her breath becomes heavy. She
          slowly turns a page and freezes. Her face turns white.
          Hilly balls both fists, looks to the ceiling and screams
          louder than humanly possible.

          THE SCREAM CONTINUES OVER:

                         

          INT. SKEETER'S BEDROOM - SAME TIME

          Skeeter lies in bed sleeping. Her eyes pop open.

           125.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S BEDROOM - SAME TIME

          Aibileen lies in bed sleeping. Her eyes pop open.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S BEDROOM - NEXT MORNING

          Minny lies in bed sleeping. Her eyes pop open. But, this
          time, Hilly's scream fades as knocks at the door grow louder.
          Knocking that has actually stirred Minny awake.
          Sugar and Kindra enter, jumping in bed with Minny.

                          SUGAR
           Momma, there's a white man at our
           door!

           MAN (O.C.)
           Minny Jackson! Are you in there?!
          Minny covers the girls with a blanket. She puts on a robe and
          grabs a bat from behind the door.

           MAN (O.C.) (CONT'D)
           I can hear you. Open the door.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S HOUSE - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Minny approaches the door.

                          MINNY
           Who there?

                          MAN
           Johnny Foote. Minny Jackson, I
           want to talk to you. Open up.
          Minny slowly opens the door. Johnny is all smiles.

                          JOHNNY
           Finally, I meet Minny Jackson...
          As Johnny enters, Minny raises the bat and swings. Johnny
          turns and stops the bat with his hand.

                          JOHNNY (CONT'D)
           What the hell are you doin'?!
          Minny lets go of the bat and cowers on the floor, raises her
          hands in front of her.

                          MINNY
           Please don't hurt me! My babies
           are in the house.
          Johnny drops the bat and pulls Minny up from the floor.

                          JOHNNY
           Calm down, girl. I'm not here to
           get you.

           126.

                         
          He suddenly throws his arms around her and squeezes hard.

                         

          INT. MINNY'S KITCHEN - MOMENTS LATER

          Johnny and Minny sit at her kitchen table.

                          JOHNNY
           When I finally confronted Celia
           about you, she told me about the
           baby. All of them. You saved her
           life.

                          MINNY
           I don't know about that.

                          JOHNNY
           Well, I know the day you came to
           our house, she started getting
           better. And I'm not just talking
           about the cookin' either.

                          MINNY
           You knew I was there?

                          JOHNNY
           Fried chicken and okra on the first
           night? Y'all should have at least
           put corn pone on the table.

                          MINNY
           I couldn't make you eat anymore
           corn pone, Mister Johnny.

                          JOHNNY
           Next morning, I snuck back up to
           the house, peeked in the window,
           and there you were. Given ol'
           Oscar a wipe down.
          Minny smiles for the first time.

                          MINNY
           So I ain't losing my job?

                          JOHNNY
           You have a job with us for the rest
           of your life, if you want it.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - DAY

          Bridge is underway at the Leefolt house with the usual
          suspects, except Skeeter. LOU ANN TEMPLETON has taken her
          place.
          Aibileen nervously pours coffee.

                          JOLENE FRENCH
           I heard that Betty character might
           be Charlene.

           127.

                         

                          HILLY
           It's not Jackson, and that book is
           garbage. I bet the whole thing's
           made up by some nigra.
          Aibileen begins pouring coffee into Hilly's cup.

           LOU ANN TEMPLETON
           And, Jolene, didn't your momma
           leave Cora to you in her will?

                          JOLENE
           Well, yes...But that's not odd is
           it? Happens all the time, right?
          A sudden realization washes over Jolene.

           LOU ANN TEMPLETON
           Did anybody ever figured out who C
           and T are?

                          HILLY
           The book is NOT ABOUT JACKSON!
          Aibileen spills a few drops of coffee on Hilly's plate. Hilly
          looks up to Aibileen slow and deliberate.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           You spilled some, Aibileen.
          Aibileen takes the cloth from the coffee pitcher handle and
          dabs the spilled coffee.
          Aibileen glances at Hilly. A secret burns between them.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           Get me a new plate. One you
           haven't soiled with a dirty cloth.

                         

          EXT. MOUNT ZION CHURCH - EVENING

          Aibileen and Minny walk into the church parking lot wearing
          their Sunday best.
          Minny takes note of all the cars.

                          MINNY
           We late? Looks like Bible study
           done already started.

                          AIBILEEN
           No. We ain't late.

                         

          INT. MOUNT ZION BABTIST CHURCH - MOMENTS LATER

          As Minny and Aibileen enter the church. Four-hundred members
          stand at once. The congregation begins to clap.

           128.

                         
          Minny and Aibileen look around trying to figure out the
          source of adulation. They both start clapping too.
          Aibileen steps up to a woman in the last pew.

                          AIBILEEN
           Who we clappin' for?
          The woman laughs.

                          WOMAN
           Honey, we clappin' for you.
          The woman raises a copy of "The Help." Aibileen notices a
          copy of the book in each member's hand.
          Aibileen looks to Minny, realizing she's in on it.
          A REVEREND approaches, hands Aibileen a copy of the book.

                          REVEREND
           Aibileen, this is an important time
           for you and our church. We know
           you couldn't put your name in here,
           so we all signed our own.
          The Reverend then hands her a box wrapped in white paper,
          tied with a blue ribbon.

                          REVEREND (CONT'D)
           This is for the white lady. Tell
           her we love her like family.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOUSE - NIGHT

          Skeeter sits between Aibileen and Minny on the sofa thumbing
          through her signed book.
          Hundreds of signatures cover the pages.

                          AIBILEEN
           Churches over two counties signed
           our books. All for you and me.
          Aibileen points to the inside back cover.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Doctor King signed it, too. He
           readin' our book.
          Aibileen glances proudly at the framed portrait of Dr. King.

                          MINNY
           We did something. We did something
           good.

                          SKEETER
           It's beautiful.
          Skeeter closes the book and sets it down regretfully.

           129.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           What's wrong?
          Skeeter pulls a letter out of her purse.

                          SKEETER
           I got a job offer from Harper and
           Row...in New York.

                          AIBILEEN
           Congratulations!

                          MINNY
           That real good, Miss Skeeter.

                          SKEETER
           I not taking it. I just wanted to
           share it with you both. There's no
           one else I can tell.

                          AIBILEEN
           What you mean you not takin' it?
           This is what you been dreaming of.

                          SKEETER
           I can't leave you two right when
           things are getting bad from a mess
           I created. I set out to write a
           book to make white people thankful.
           But in the end, what we should say
           is "sorry."

                          AIBILEEN
           If bad things happen, they ain't
           nothing you can do about it. And
           if they happen, at least now theys
           a reason behind it. A reason we
           can wrap our heads around and be
           proud of...
          Skeeter nods with little relief.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           Now, I don't mean to rub salt in
           your wound, but...you ain't got a
           good life here in Jackson. Plus,
           your momma's getting better-
          Minny aggressively chimes in.

                          MINNY
           You ain't got nothing left here but
           enemies in the Junior League. You
           done burned ever bridge there is.
           And you ain't never gone get
           another man in this town, and ever
           body know it. So don't walk your
           white butt to New York, RUN IT!
          Minny leans over, placing her hand on Skeeter's for the first
          time since knowing each other.

           130.

                         

                          MINNY (CONT'D)
           And you listen to me. I'm on take
           care a Aibileen, and she gone take
           care a me.
          Skeeter nods.

                          AIBILEEN
           Go find your life, Miss Skeeter.

                         

          EXT. PHELAN PLANTATION - NIGHT

          Skeeter stands next to the barn smoking a cigarette reading
          the Harper and Row offer for the hundredth time.
          Tires crunch gravel down the drive. Skeeter sees a car
          moving toward her with the headlights off.
          Worried, Skeeter looks toward her home. Charlotte can be
          seen in an upstairs window.
          Skeeter soon recognizes the car as Hilly's.
          Hilly parks, lights a cigarette and gets out of her car.
          Skeeter charges toward her.

                          SKEETER
           What are you doing here?
          Hilly screams and throws her lit cigarette at Skeeter.

                          HILLY
           Don't you get an inch closer!
          Hilly's a mess. Her shirt is half tucked. Her shorts strain
          to contain a newly developed layer of fat.
          A horrible fever blister burns hot on Hilly's upper lip.

                          HILLY (CONT'D)
           I've contacted my lawyer, Hibbie
           Goodman. He's the best libel
           attorney in Mississippi. You're in
           big trouble, Missy. And you're
           going to jail.

                          SKEETER
           You can't prove anything, Hilly.

                          HILLY
           I one-hundred-percent know you
           wrote it `cause nobody else in town
           is as tacky as you. Those nigras of
           yours are in a lifetime of trouble.

                          SKEETER
           Exactly who are you talking about?
           You don't know anything.

           131.

                         

                          HILLY
           I don't, do I? You tell Aibileen,
           the next time she wants to write
           about my dear friend Elizabeth...uh-
           huh. Remember her? Had you in her
           wedding? Let's just say, Aibileen
           ought to've been a little bit
           smarter before putting in the L-
           shaped crack in poor Elizabeth's
           dining table. And that nigra,
           Minny? Do I have plans for her.

                          SKEETER
           Careful, Hilly. Don't give
           yourself away now.

                          HILLY
           That was not me WHO ATE THAT PIE!
          Hilly storms up the porch steps. Skeeter follows.

                          SKEETER
           I did not invite you here!
          Skeeter yanks Hilly's arm hard.

                          HILLY
           I've come to tell your mother what
           a hippie you've become. She's
           gonna be disgusted by you.
          Skeeter can't help but laugh.

                          SKEETER
           You're telling my mother on me?
          Hilly opens the door. Skeeter grabs her. They struggle.

                          SKEETER (CONT'D)
           You get out of here!
          Charlotte suddenly appears. Skeeter lets go of Hilly.

                          CHARLOTTE
           Why, Hilly...It's been such a long
           time, Dear. Everything okay, you
           two?
          Hilly is shocked by Charlotte's frail appearance.

                          HILLY
           Missus Phelan, I'm...I'm here to-

                          CHARLOTTE
           Hilly, you're a mess. Are you ill?
          Hilly self-consciously licks her fever blister.

                          HILLY
           Well, I...I didn't have time to get
           fixed up before-

           132.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           Darling, no husband wants to come
           home and see this.
          Charlotte peers closely at Hilly's cold sore.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           And that...that is horrendous.

                          HILLY
           Missus Phelan, I'm here-

                          CHARLOTTE
           You know, Hilly. If I didn't know
           any better, I'd say you've been
           eating too many...SWEETS?
          Hilly's face turns purple with embarrassment. Charlotte
          moves in for the kill.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           In fact. I'm sure of it. Now GET
           OUT OF MY HOUSE...before we all get
           one of those on our lip.
          Hilly looks back and forth between Skeeter and her mother,
          not knowing what to say.
          Hilly runs out of the house as Charlotte sashays quietly into
          the living room.
          Shocked, Skeeter stands alone in the foyer. Hilly sprays
          gravel across the Phelan yard as she speeds away.

           CHARLOTTE (O.C.) (CONT'D)
           Eugenia?

                          SKEETER
           Yes, Ma'am.

           CHARLOTTE (O.C.)
           Come in here, please.
          Skeeter gulps as she heads toward the living room.

                         

          INT. PHELAN PLANTATION - LIVING ROOM - MOMENTS LATER

          Charlotte pats the sofa as Skeeter enters and sits.

                          SKEETER
           Ma'am?

                          CHARLOTTE
           Do you have plans tomorrow? Bible
           study? Anything like that?

                          SKEETER
           No, Ma'am.

           133.

                         

                          CHARLOTTE
           Good. We're going shopping.
          Skeeter lets out a big sigh of relief.

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           `Cause no single daughter of mine
           is going to New York, representing
           the great state of Mississippi,
           without a proper cosmopolitan
           wardrobe.

                          SKEETER
           What?

                          CHARLOTTE
           I'm very proud of you, Eugenia.

                          SKEETER
           How do you know about New York?

                          CHARLOTTE
           A friend of Constantine's told me.
          Charlotte reaches down and pulls up her copy of "The Help".

                          CHARLOTTE (CONT'D)
           Would you do me the honor of
           signing my copy?
          Skeeter nods. Charlotte hands Skeeter a pen. Her hand
          trembles as she signs the book, never having guessed how good
          it would feel.

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - KITCHEN - MORNING

          Aibileen washes dishes as the phone begins to ring. She
          answers. Minny screams on the other end of the line.

                         

          EXT. GAS STATION (INTERCUT) - SAME TIME

          Minny stands barefoot inside a phone booth, her lip swollen,
          face bleeding. Her kids stand outside, crying.

                          MINNY
           They fired Leroy last night! And
           when Leroy ask why, his boss say
           Mister Holbrook told him to do it.
           Said his nigger wife the reason.

                          AIBILEEN
           Oh, Law!

                          MINNY
           He try to kill me with he bare
           hands! He threw the kids in the
           yard, lock me in the bathroom, and
           say he gone set the house on fire.

           134.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Where are you now?!

                          MINNY
           The gas station. I climbed out the
           window, and we all ran here.

                          AIBILEEN
           I'm on come there now.

                          MINNY
           Wait, Aibileen...I'm pregnant.

                          AIBILEEN
           Minny, now, you listen to me. That
           baby gone be fine, and you ain't
           never gone lose your job. Mister
           Johnny told you that hisself.
           They's more book money coming.
           Your baby ain't gone know about
           gettin' beat. You hear me? You
           free, Minny! You are free.
          Minny lets out a chuckle of relief and wipes her eyes.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           You hear me?

                          MINNY
           I hear you...
          The Leefolt front door opens. Elizabeth calls out.

           ELIZABETH (O.C.)
           Aibileen?

                         

          INT. LEEFOLT HOME - LIVING ROOM - CONTINUOUS

          Aibileen enters to find Elizabeth and Hilly staring at her.
          Elizabeth is two weeks WAY PAST DUE.

                          AIBILEEN
           Good morning.
          Hilly licks her cold sore as she steps forward. She glides
          her hand across the L-shaped crack in the Elizabeth's table,
          drawing Aibileen's attention to it.

                          HILLY
           Aibileen, the silver I lent
           Elizabeth last week.

                          AIBILEEN
           It not polished good? Humidity
           been fighting me on polishing day.

                          HILLY
           When you returned it, three pieces
           were missing out of the felt
           wrapper. A fork and two spoons.

           135.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           Lemme...lemme go look in the
           kitchen, maybe I left some behind.

                          HILLY
           You know as well as I do that
           silver's not in the kitchen.
          Aibileen turns to Elizabeth.

                          AIBILEEN
           You check in Mae Mobley's bed? She
           been putting things-

                          HILLY
           Do you hear her, Elizabeth? She's
           trying to blame it on a toddler.
          Elizabeth won't look at Aibileen.

                          AIBILEEN
           I ain't stole no silver.
          Elizabeth whispers to Hilly.

                          ELIZABETH
           She says she doesn't have them.

                          HILLY
           Then it behooves me to inform you
           that you are fired, Aibileen. And
           I'll be calling the police. They
           know me.
          Mae Mobley enters the room.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Aibee, my froat hurts.
          Mae Mobley coughs.

                          AIBILEEN
           I go get her some syrup, Miss
           Leefolt.

                          HILLY
           Elizabeth can take care of her
           child.
          Elizabeth looks to Hilly, appearing somewhat upset with this
          suggestion.

                          ELIZABETH
           I'll go get the couch syrup.
          Hilly glares at Aibileen as Elizabeth runs down the hall.

                          HILLY
           I won't tolerate liars!
          Mae Mobley becomes scared and hides behind Aibileen's leg.

           136.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           I didn't steal no silver.

                          HILLY
           I'm not talking about silver. I'm
           talking about those things you
           wrote about Elizabeth. Maybe I
           can't send you to jail for what you
           wrote, but I can send you to jail
           for being a thief. And your
           friend, Minny? That nigra's got a
           nice surprise coming to her.
           Johnny Foote listens to what I say.
           She's as good as-
          Aibileen shouts, interrupting Hilly.

                          AIBILEEN
           Woman!...I know something about
           you. Don't you forget that.
          Hilly narrows her eyes.

                          AIBILEEN (CONT'D)
           From what Yule May says, they's a
           lot a time to write letters from
           jail. Plenty a time to write ever
           person in Jackson the truth about
           you, and the paper is free.

                          HILLY
           Nobody would believe something you
           wrote.

                          AIBILEEN
           I don't know. Already sold a lot a
           books.
          Fear floods into Hilly's eyes.

                          HILLY
           Get out of here!

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Don't go, Aibiee!
          Aibileen kneels down as Elizabeth returns with the syrup.

                          AIBILEEN
           Baby, you need to get back to bed.
           You got a fever.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Noooo! Don't go, Aibee. Please
           don't leave.

                          AIBILEEN
           I gots to, Baby. I am so sorry.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Why? Are you going to take care of
           another little girl?

           137.

                         

                          AIBILEEN
           No, Baby, that's not the reason. I
           don't want to leave you, but...It's
           time for me to retire. You my last
           little girl.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Noooo!

                          AIBILEEN
           Baby Girl, I need you to remember
           ever thing I told you. Okay? Do
           you remember what I told you?

                          MAE MOBLEY
           To wipe my bottom good?

                          AIBILEEN
           No, Baby. The other. What you
           are.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           You is kind. You is smart. You is
           important.

                          AIBILEEN
           That's right, Baby Girl.
          Aibileen squeezes Mae Mobley for the last time. They both
          cry together. Hilly speaks up.

                          HILLY
           You need to go now, Aibileen!
          Aibileen rises up from Mae Mobley and turns to Elizabeth.

                          AIBILEEN
           Give my sweet girl a chance.
          Elizabeth avoids eye contact. Aibileen turns and walks away.
          As Elizabeth leans down to pick up Mae Mobley....HER WATER
          BREAKS. She glares at Hilly with shock and regret.

                         

          EXT. LEEFOLT HOME - MOMENTS LATER

          Aibileen steps out of the house with her purse.
          She walks stoically down the driveway. Tears stream down her
          face.
          Mae Mobley runs to the living room window crying. She beats
          on the glass from inside.

                          MAE MOBLEY
           Aibeeeee! Don't go!
          Aibileen never turns.

           138.

                         

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Mae Mobley was my last baby. In
           just thirty minutes, I felt like my
           whole life was done. Of the
           thirteen maids, seven of us got
           fired. Several other maids got
           fired who had nothin' to do with
           our book. Guess our stories
           weren't so unique after all...But,
           like Minny, we was all free.

                         

          INT. HOLBROOK HOUSE - FOYER - DAY

          Hilly, even fatter now, sifts through the day's mail.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           And we's was a lot freer than Hilly
           Holbrook.
          She comes across a piece from Celia Foote addressed to The
          Starving Children of Africa Fund. A smug smile forms.
          She opens the envelope to find a check for $200.00 made out
          to: TWO-SLICE HILLY!
          Hilly screams as she rips the check into pieces.

                         

          EXT. FOOTE ESTATE - YARD - DAY

          Minny folds laundry on a picnic table.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Ever so often, we all get a nice
           piece of book money in the mail.
           `Manna from heaven' we like to call
           it.
          Minny looks across the table and smiles at Celia who is
          holding and playing with Minny's newborn child.

                         

          EXT. CHICAGO - GRAVEYARD - DAY

          Close on tombstone:

                         

                          CONSTANTINE JEFFERSON
           Born December 24th 1883
           Died March 15th, 1963
          A bouquet of flowers lay at the foot of the tombstone. A
          copy of "The Help" leans against it.
          In the distance, a cab slowly pulls away with Skeeter inside.

           139.

                         

          INT. AIBILEEN'S HOME - KITCHEN - DAY

          Aibileen sits at her kitchen table, typing on Skeeter's old
          typewriter. We watch as keys write out the rest of
          Aibileen's voice over.

           AIBILEEN (V.O.)
           Thousands of our books went out all
           over the world. We had got paid to
           tell the truth and we just couldn't
           believe it...
          Aibileen takes this last page out of the typewriter and
          places it behind two hundred other typed out pages.
          She looks up to the framed picture of Treelore and rises from
          the table with pride.

                         

          INT. HARPER AND ROW - SKEETER'S OFFICE - NEW YORK - DAY

          Skeeter smiles as she reads from a book in her corner office.
          The Manhattan skyline rises behind her. She wears Pucci.
          Her hair is perfectly styled. She looks gorgeous.
          She sets the book down on her desk and picks up the phone.
          The book's cover reads:
           "All My Babies"
           By Aibileen Clark
          Next to the book is a glass box. Constantine's corn pipe
          rests inside.

                         

          AIBILEEN'S NEW HOME - LIVING ROOM - FIFTEEN YEARS LATER
          Aibileen, 70, rises from a sofa. Her hair is gray. Reading
          glasses hang on a chain from around her neck.
          As she begins a slow walk down the hall, we see the
          surroundings of her new home for the first time. It's much
          bigger, well furnished and beautiful.
          She passes a study lined with shelves of books. A copy of
          "The Help" and "All My Babies" are placed side by side.
          At the end of the hall, Aibileen approaches the opened door
          of a brightly lit, sparkling white, bathroom.
          She enters the bathroom and closes the door.