The cast and crew from “Hillbilly Elegy” got another taste of Middletown over the weekend.
They held a meeting and ate lunch Saturday at Gracie’s in downtown Middletown, said the restaurant’s owner, Ami Vitori.
Earlier Saturday, director Ron Howard was seen scouting residences on Harrison Street in Middletown for the film adaptation of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” that was written by J.D. Vance about growing up in Middletown and in Jackson, Ky. The memoir was a bestseller released in 2016.
This year, Howard has been spotted several times in Middletown, including at Triple Moon Coffee Shop in downtown.
In January, it was announced that Netflix won a bidding war for the rights to “Hillbilly Elegy.” Netflix will spend $45 million on the film, according to a report from Deadline.
Vitori said that during a previous visit to Middletown the cast and crew said they were looking for a place to hold a meeting and have lunch. Vitori offered office space and the restaurant. She said the cast and the real-life characters met at Gracie’s.
She said her staff was “very excited” to meet Glenn Close, who’s playing Vance’s grandmother, and Amy Adams, who’s playing Vance’s mother. Close was “really, really kind and seemed genuinely attached” to Middletown, Vitori.
Vitori said she expects filming in Middletown to last about three days and start in late summer.
Some Middletown residents have expressed to Vitori, a member of Middletown City Council, that they’re upset more filming isn’t taking place in Middletown, she said.
“We have done everything we could,” she said.
She said more filming isn’t taking place in Middletown because of state tax credits. In April, the Middletown community asked Howard to film his upcoming movie version of the book “Hillbilly Elegy” in and around the city.