Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment production company has won the film rights to Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis (Harper; HarperAudio; OverDrive Sample), reports Deadline Hollywood. Howard will direct.
Vance’s memoir arrived as the presidential campaign was heating up. The media embraced his sympathetic portrait of life in the Rust Belt as an explanation for the deep divides that drove the election. As a result of growing media attention, the book landed on best seller lists several weeks after publication. It is currently #2 on the NYT Hardcover Nonfiction list after 36 weeks.
It came to define what Slate‘s Laura Miller calls a new genre of nonfiction, the on-the-ground Trump explainer … illuminating the desperation driving white small-town Americans, as told by a native son.” She calls Vance’s book the genre’s “vanguard title.”
In a statement, Imagine describes it as “a powerful, true coming-of-age memoir … 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.”