The Girl on the Train’s Haley Bennett in talks for Hillbilly Elegy
Variety has brought word that Ron Howard’s passion project Hillbilly Elegy has expanded its already star-studded cast with the latest addition of The Girl on the Train and The Magnificent Seven star Haley Bennett.
While her casting is still in early discussions, sources say that despite potential scheduling conflicts, the 31-year-old actress and Netflix, who acquired the project to the tune of $45 million, are very enthusiastic about the potential on having her star in the film and are determined to resolve any potential problems. Should a deal be closed, Bennett would join a cast that currently includes Amy Adams (Sharp Objects), Glenn Close (The Wife) and Gabriel Basso (The Kings of Summer). .
Based on J.D. Vance’s memoir, the story 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 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. Close was last seen in The Wife, which earned her her seventh Academy Award nomination, though she lost to Olivia Colman in The Favourite.