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It’s a strange footnote to the trials and tribulations in the history of American racial equality that all sorts of awards buzz immediately follows releases – and in this case pre-releases- of fictional works that involve one white person getting along with black people in the century before civil rights finally became realized. Luckily, most of the films are quality works, so the buzz is somewhat justified instead of patronizing.
Warner Bros. will soon be telling the tale of a post-Depression mixed-race relationship as they’ve acquired the rights to Calling Me Home, the semi-biographical debut novel from author Julie Kibler. Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee, who has built a career on Asian horror and action remakes, will be on board to produce the film, which THR describes as Driving Miss Daisy mixed with The Help. Both seeking subtler adult entertainment than the louder affairs they’re used to producing, Warner Bros. and Lee will now begin the search for a screenwriter to adapt Kibler’s words.
Released on February 12, 2013, Calling Me Home has received positive reviews and this deal should certainly boost its reader base. Inspired by events from Kibler’s family history, the novel centers on a road trip from Arlington, Texas to Cincinnati, Ohio taken by an 89-year-old white woman named Isabelle and Dorrie, her black hairdresser. On the trip, the narrative drifts between present day and the late 1930s, as Isabelle unveils secrets from her youth, which include a tragic relationship with the black son of the family’s housekeeper.
It’s always nice to get a road trip film that isn’t a raunchy comedy, but this material might be uncomfortable for a host of different reasons, with one of those reasons being the way an 89-year-old character will be portrayed.