Our Dream Cast for The Help: The Movie

Our Dream Cast for The Help: The Movie
Anne Hathaway, Oprah Winfrey, Claire Danes
Wireimage; Getty; INF

03/09/2010 AT 08:55 AM EST

Book clubs everywhere are abuzz, and it looks like the box office is next!

Now that the bestselling novel The Help is making its way to the big screen under Steven Spielberg and his DreamWorks studio, we're running through a short list of who could bring the novel's beloved characters to life.

"The casting process is going to be the most fun part about this," DreamWorks co-president of production Holly Bario told EW.com. "This is a total tour de force for women."

In case you haven't read it yet: The 2009 megaseller, written by first-time novelist Kathryn Stockett, chronicles the conflicted relationships between black housekeepers and their white employers in a pre-Civil-Rights-era Mississippi. Hundreds of thousands of readers have kept it on The New York Times Best Sellers list for more than 47 weeks – due in large part to Stockett's enchanting mix of female characters, from the coming-of-age heroine Miss Skeeter to the wise and thoughtful maid Aibileen.

Here's who we'd cast for the pivotal roles:

Claire Danes as Skeeter
Danes, who recently earned raves for her title role as Temple Grandin, an autistic animal behavioralist, in the HBO fact-based movie, could bring some serious empathy and angsty drive to the role of Skeeter, a recent grad from Ole Miss who instead of getting married secretly sets out to tell the stories of the maids in her hometown. Plus, the accent would be a cinch!

Oprah Winfrey as Aibileen
Who better to play the wise, regal and caring Aibileen than Oprah!? With her talk show ending, she's got a little time on her hands to make a dramatic screen comeback. It's been 25 years since she earned an Oscar nomination for her pivotal role as Sofia in Spielberg's 1985 film adaptation of The Color Purple.

Anne Hathaway as Hilly
It's time to see Hathaway really play a mean girl! The actress, who proved she's more than a princess with her Oscar-nominated role as a rehabbed drug addict in Rachel Getting Married, could go for Oscar again with the supporting role of racist villainess Hilly Holbrook – a privileged, popular and outspoken woman who wields her power over her social circle and the African-American women who serve them.

Mo'Nique as Minny
Who else but the Oscar-winning actress, who shattered expectations as an abusive mother in Precious, could follow-up her dramatic debut with the sassy role of Minny? This maid's temper and tongue send her looking for work after an uncomfortable firing. She lands a job for Celia, an unconventional woman desperate to learn to cook, but who does a lot of lying around. Sounds perfect for Scarlett Johansson.

See what other readers have to say about our picks – or leave a casting suggestion of your own

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