Film Music Reporter has learned that Thomas Newman is currently writing the score for the upcoming drama The Help. The movie is based on the best-selling novel by Kathryn Stockett about the conflicted and complex relationships between Southern women and their housekeepers at the beginning of the civil rights movement. In the film, an aspiring writer in 1960s Mississippi sets out to write a book chronicling the way black maids are being treated by society. The movie stars Emma Stone, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Viola Davis, Bryce Dallas Howard, Mike Vogel and Cicely Tyson. The Help is directed by Tate Taylor who made his directorial feature debut on 2008’s Pretty Ugly People. The project marks the director’s first studio picture. Chris Columbus, Michael Barnathan and Mark Radcliffe are producing through 1492 Pictures. Walt Disney Pictures is set to release the DreamWorks Studios-produced film on August 12, 2011.

Also set for an August release is the thriller The Debt, which Newman has finished scoring a while ago. The film directed by John Madden starring Helen Mirren, Sam Worthington and Tom Wilkinson premiered at last year’s Toronto Film Festival. The movie is an English-language remake of the Israeli thriller Ha-hov and centers around three Israeli Mossad agents who are tracking down a Nazi war criminal over 30 years. Focus Features has recently picked up domestic rights for the film and has scheduled a release for August 31, 2011.