Netflix nabs Ron Howard’s Hillbilly Elegy after bidding war
Deadline brings word that Netflix has landed Oscar-winning director Ron Howard’s (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, Solo: A Star Wars Story) feature adaptation of Hillbilly Elegy, based on the bestseller by J.D. Vance. Netflix will finance the project for $45 million, beating out other top bidding rivals.
Vance’s memoir, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis, centers on growing up in the Rust Belt and is a personal analysis of the white underclass, race, and privilege in America. Vance, raised poor among working-class “hillbillies,” explores his childhood and family struggles as they navigate drug addiction and social and economic challenges. Supported by his larger-than-life grandmother, he developed a deep appreciation for education that laid the foundation for him to rise out of poverty and its cultural restraints.
The outlet notes that the movie adaptation has become a passion project for Howard, who will direct. Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water, Game of Thrones) will pen the screenplay. Howard will also produce alongside his Imagine Entertainment partner Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder. Julie Oh will serve as executive producer.
Hillbilly Elegy will likely begin production later this year. Howard is currently wrapping up production on the documentary Pavarotti, which takes a look at the life and work of opera legend Luciano Pavarotti. He is also in pre-production on the TV pilot 68 Whiskey.