Academy Award-winning filmmaker Ron Howard will direct and produce the film adaptation of J.D. Vance’s bestselling debut book “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” according to Deadline. The film rights to the book, which was released last August, were acquired by Howard’s Imagine Entertainment. The “Inferno” and “A Beautiful Mind” director will also produce the movie alongside his partner, Brian Grazer, and Imagine president Erica Huggins.
The memoir —which has been on the New York Times bestseller list for 36 weeks— chronicles the financial struggles, social hardship and drug addiction that Vance and his family endured in the city of Middletown, OH, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, KY, where his ancestors were from. The controversial memoir serves as a microcosm of the everyday struggles of America’s white underclass in the Rust Belt region, which was vital to Donald Trump’s presidential win.
“‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a powerful, true coming-of-age memoir by J.D. Vance,” Huggins told Deadline. “Through the lens of a colorful, chaotic family and with remarkable compassion and self-awareness, J.D. has been able to look back on his own upbringing as a ‘hillbilly’ to illuminate the plight of America’s white working class, speaking directly to the turmoil of our current political climate.”