Director Ron Howard may have found his next project, an adaptation of J.D. Vance‘s memoir “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.” Imagine Entertainment acquired the book after producers Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins pursued it. They’ll both produce the film alongside Howard.
Below, learn more about the Hillbilly Elegy movie.
According to Deadline, Imagine Entertainment came on top following a bidding war for Vance’s New York Times bestseller. The book has struck quite a chord with people, for good and bad. Some viewed the book as a symbol for those in Rust Belt supporting Donald Trump, although Vance was not a supporter. Throughout last year’s presidential election, Vance was called the “Trump whisperer,” as he was often explaining the President’s supporters.
Vance, who’s now a political contributor on CNN, overcame economic and social hardships throughout his youth. The author grew up in Middletown, Ohio, before him and his family moved to the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. Growing up, his grandmother taught him the importance of education, which led to him one day graduating from Ohio State University and Yale Law School, after he served in the Marine Corps.
Here’s a part of Vance’s memoir’s synopsis:
Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck.
The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.'s grandparents were "dirt poor and in love," and moved north from Kentucky's Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility.
But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance's grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history.
A screenwriter hasn’t been hired yet to adapt Vance’s memoir. In a statement to Deadline, producer Erica Huggins said she believes the author’s story, “with compassion and self-awareness,” illuminates “the plight of America's white working class, speaking directly to the turmoil of our current political climate.”
This marks the second true story Howard has become involved with recently. The director is also considering a Zelda Fitzgerald biopic starring Jennifer Lawrence. The director behind Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13, and Rush often gravitates towards powerful true stories, and more often than not, they make for his most inspired work.
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