By Nicole Sperling
Updated March 04, 2010 at 10:31 PM EST

DreamWorks Studios has acquired Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling novel The Help. Set in the 1960s, the project, which centers on Southern white women and their black housekeepers, had already been optioned by Stockett’s childhood friend rookie director Tate Taylor. He also adapted the script with a lot of consultation from Stockett. According to DreamWorks co-president of production Holly Bario, she and studio chief Stacey Snider had been tracking The Help for over a year and met with Taylor after he finished his script. “We had a good solid meeting with him last week,” said Bario. “He met with Steven [Spielberg]. He watched movies with Steven. We are in it.”

With not a lot of rewrites expected on the adaptation, which is also being produced by Taylor’s producing partner Brunson Green and Percy Jackson director Chris Columbus, the studio hopes to begin shooting the film this summer in Mississippi. That’s got to be good news to the legion of Help fans who have kept the novel on The New York Times Best Sellers list for 47 weeks.

As for the cast, nothing has been set but Bario is equally excited about that part of the process. “The casting process is going to be the most fun part about this. This is a total tour de force for women.”