‘Hillbilly Elegy’: The latest in movie adaptation of book based on Middletown

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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J.D. Vance, author of the best-selling book "Hillbilly Elegy" and Middletown native, was the speaker for the 2017 Alex & Lena Casper Memorial Lecture Thursday at Miami University Middletown.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Middletown native J.D. Vance, who penned a best-selling memoir about his upbringing locally and in rural Kentucky, said it took some time for him to agree to the book’s future on the big screen.

“Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis” will become a movie to be directed and produced by Ron Howard.

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Here’s the latest in the movie’s production:

Choosing a director

Vance told the Journal-News he was approached in early 2017 by several directors looking to make “Hillbilly Elegy” into a movie.

“I’m a pretty private person and felt uncomfortable by it,” Vance told the Journal-News that year. “It was hard enough for me to write the book, but a movie is a much bigger stage. It’s a much larger invasion of privacy.”

After denying “a few relatively famous filmmakers,” Vance said he shifted gears and agreed to talk with a few of them.

That included Ron Howard, the director of award-winning blockbuster movies like "Backdraft," "Apollo 13" and "A Beautiful Mind."

“Ron was just … this incredibly kind and thoughtful guy, but he also was doing something that I was trying to do with the book, which was tell a story about a group of people who don’t get stories told about them very often and he seemed very interested about approaching the project carefully and thoughtfully and compassionately and really just revealing … what he thinks is an important story and I obviously think is an important story, too,” Vance said.

Ron Howard scouts filming locations in Middletown

Howard was seen in Middletown this past week, possibly scouting locations for the movie’s filming.

MORE: Filmmaker Ron Howard spotted in Middletown coffee shop

MORE: Resident shares chance meeting with Ron Howard in Middletown

Screenplay in the works

Vanessa Taylor, nominated for an Oscar for co-writing with Guillermo del Tor the Best Picture nominee "The Shape of Water," will adapt "Hillbilly Elegy," for the big screen, according to Deadline Hollywood.

Taylor, a writer and co-producer on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” also penned “Divergent” and “Hope Springs,” according to Deadline Hollywood.

MORE: J.D. Vance opens up about movie adaptation of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

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