Production crews are continuing their preparations for filming “Hillbilly Elegy” at several locations around Middletown. Houses are being transformed into sets, equipment and vehicles are being staged in city parking lots during the preparations. Film crews are asking residents for privacy as they start filming in the city for the next few days. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer
Photo: Staff Writer

‘Hillbilly Elegy’ crews buying local items to include in movie filming in Middletown this week

To help furnish the interior sets and exterior scenes of some of the houses being used in Middletown for the filming of the “Hillbilly Elegy” movie this week, the movie’s property department has been scouring the area for furniture, clothing, knick-knacks and other things for props.

Today, Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard begins filming in and around Middletown after the production company completed its location shooting in Georgia on Friday.

MORE: Crews are preparing Middletown for next week’s filming of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

The $45 million Netflix movie is a 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.

“Hillbilly Elegy” will feature several major film stars including Amy Adams, Glenn Close and Gabriel Basso.

Kristi Leigh, part of the Mix 107.7 Morning Show, said her son had posted a Craigslist garage sale ad to get rid of the furnishings and other contents of her parent’s home in Clayton. She said her mother died in 2017 and her father died in April. Her son Kellan, 17, received a call from the movie’s property manager who wanted to see what they had and bought her grandfather’s old recliner that was in the basement.

Her son said that the property manager looked around the house asked how much for everything.

MORE: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ movie gains momentum, and Middletown seeks to take advantage

“She came back this morning (Wednesday, July 31) and went room to room marking things for various scenes in the movie,” Kristi Leigh said.

Kristi Leigh, who grew up in Clayton, said items purchased included furniture, cane poles, clothes, quilts, over the counter medicine bottles, and yard furniture. Other items that were purchased were an old pickup truck cap and old tools junk that would be seen in an alley

The property manager eventually spent about $900 for the items and had a truck come to pick everything up to take to Middletown.

SPOTTED: Ron Howard looking for places to film in the Miami Valley for upcoming movie

“The stuff will be peppered in the movie,” Kristi Leigh said. “Most movie companies donate the things they buy to the Salvation Army, Goodwill or woman’s shelters.

She said there were some things that she didn’t want to part with but said the items “will be immortalized on film.”

“It’s so cool,” Kristie Leigh said. “I’m really excited.”

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