Howard’s visits have generated local enthusiasm to have as much of the movie filmed in the Middletown area as possible. In May, the Middletown Visitors Bureau creating short videos of downtown businesses and local residents encouraging Howard to “Make It In Middletown Ron” or #makeitinmiddletownron. The local videos were posted to Facebook and You Tube.
While J.D. Vance’s best-selling book could be perceived as showing a less-than-flattering view of Middletown, there are many in the community that think it could be just as inspiring as Vance’s story about his journey.
Some say there are a lot of parallels can be drawn to Middletown and Vance’s journeys: Vance pulled himself up from his bootstraps by joining the Marines and eventually graduating The Ohio State University and Yale Law School; Middletown is doing the same through its revitalization efforts downtown and elsewhere in the city.
MORE: ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ movie gains momentum, and Middletown seeks to take advantage
“Hillbilly Elegy” will feature several major film stars that include Amy Adams, Glenn Close and Gabriel Basso.
Howard is producing with Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder for Imagine Entertainment. Julie Oh and Vance are executive producers.
Imagine acquired the book at auction in 2017 and Netflix made a deal for a $45 million film in a heated bidding war earlier this year. The book was a bestseller for 74 weeks.