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Actress with Camden ties featured in hit film

Posted: August 16, 2011 3:55 p.m.
Updated: August 17, 2011 5:00 a.m.
Photo courtesy of Dreamworks/

Camp (far right) -- with actresses Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard and Ahna O'Reilly -- said she knew the film and its message would be powerful.

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You may have seen her appear in episodes of the hit television shows “True Blood” and “Mad Men,” or even watched her guest appearances on “Glee” and “The Office.”

Now, Midlands actress Anna Camp can also be seen on the big screen in this summer’s box office hit, “The Help.”

Camp, who has extensive ties to Camden, is the granddaughter of Shirley Camp. Her parents, Dee Kornegay Camp and Tom Camp, are from Camden and now live in Rock Hill.

“I was so excited to be a part of the movie,” Camp said. “When I read the script, I knew that this was going to be such a powerful movie with such a meaningful message.”  

Adapted from Kathryn Stockett’s bestselling book, “The Help” is a movie about African-American maids working in white households in Jackson, Miss., during the early 1960s.

In the movie, Camp plays Jolene French -- a member of the local and exclusive Junior League, and a character whom Camp describes as both snobby and judgmental.

“When we were shooting one of the scenes where Viola Davis was serving us coffee or tea, my first impulse was to say ‘thank you,’ because that’s what you do when someone serves you something. But back in the 1960s you couldn’t say thank you -- we weren’t even supposed to acknowledge her,” she said. “So there were some difficult things to it, but I also think that there’s the other side of Jolene. I loved the benefit scene where I got to announce the winners of the auction. She loves being up in front of people and that was so much fun to shoot that whole scene.”

While the characters in the movie are seen participating in Junior League activities and socializing during bridge club meetings, 28-year-old Camp said director Tate Taylor brought in several people to teach them about both of those activities -- including how Junior Leagues were such an exclusive organization for women during the 1960s, as well as the positive things that the organization did.

 “And we had to learn how to play bridge on set, and to this day I still don’t know how to play bridge. It’s so complicated,” she said, laughing. “Somebody’s mother was there at some point, and she knew how to do it, but it all went over our heads, and it was hysterical. I don’t think we’ll be playing bridge anytime soon.”

The movie has received positive reviews from critics and audiences. Camp said, ultimately, she hopes people will learn how important it is to communicate with each other.

 “It was a pivotal time in our country’s history. I hope people realize that racism unfortunately still exists in the world and in our country and in the South,” she said. “The fact that this is two different races coming together for the greater good -- I hope people walk away and want to do something like that in their daily lives. Just listen to other people, talk and communicate.”

Camp said she still has a lot on her plate even as she recently celebrated her first anniversary with her husband, fellow actor Michael Mosley. She said she recently finished a play and is gearing up to film an independent film soon.

Even though she doesn’t live in the South anymore, Camp said she will always have a soft spot for Camden.

“I don’t come back as much as I want to, but I went back this past Christmas and had so much fun seeing everybody,” she said. “It’s just such a beautiful town. I love it there and I love the South and I miss it very much.”

Shirley Camp said she also enjoyed spending time with her granddaughter at her Camden home when Anna returned for Christmas last year, and said she couldn’t be more proud.

Sitting in her art studio, Shirley smiled as she looked at the collection of pictures, articles and reviews featuring her granddaughter.

“She’s always been a sweet girl, and very outgoing. She’s like her daddy … she likes to laugh a lot,” she said, adding that she plans on seeing “The Help” this weekend. “I don’t know what I’ll do when I see her on the movie screen. I’m just real proud of her -- I’m real proud of all of my grandchildren. Anna’s doing what she loves.”

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