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Ron Howard to direct Rust Belt-inspired Hillbilly Elegy drama for Imagine

04.10.2017

It's been announced today that legendary filmmaker Ron Howard (SPLASH, APPOLO 13, A BEAUTIFUL MIND) will direct and produce a present-day economic drama based on the best-selling memoir by J.D. Vance entitled HILLBILLY ELEGY for Imagine Entertainment. Co-producing alongside Howard is Imagine Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer and the company's president, Erica Huggins. Additionally, Julie Oh will oversee the film as a representative of Imagine.

Vance's book tells of the trials and tribulations in relation to his growing up as a part of America's white working class while living in the nation's Rust Belt (a term for the region of the United States from the Great Lakes to the upper Midwest ). Focusing in on the struggles of drug addiction, as well as the region's social and economical challenges. In the memoir, Vance recalls his days of being raised by his grandmother, and the journey of seeking a better education to help overcome the burdens of poverty and cultural restraint. 

In speaking about the book, Erica Huggins stated, "‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a powerful, true coming-of-age memoir by JD Vance. Through the lens of a colorful, chaotic family, and with remarkable compassion and self-awareness, JD 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.”

As of the moment, HILLBILLY ELEGY has yet to find a writer, though the project is moving steadily along despite this essential piece to the puzzle. While I admit that I have little to no interest in this film, I'm sure that there are plenty out there who will. Howard has proven himself time again throughout the years to be a remarkable filmmaker, and there's no telling what manner of magic he'll be able to work over on Vance's tale of work-related woe. 

While you're waiting for more details concerning this film, why not check out Howard's latest documentary THE BEATLES: EIGHT DAYS A WEEK - THE TOURING YEARS, which was released on September 16, 2016

Extra Tidbit: Following several "boom" periods from the late-19th to the mid-20th century, cities in the Rust Belt area struggled to adapt to a variety of adverse economic and social conditions. They include the decline of the iron and steel industry, the movement of manufacturing to the southeastern states with their lower labor costs, the layoffs due to the rise of automation in industrial processes, the decreased need for labor in making steel products, the internationalization of American business, and the liberalization of foreign trade policies due to globalization.
Source: Variety

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