Dealing with subjects like class, poverty and Donald Trump are not popular go-to topics for Hollywood production companies to normally venture. Yet Imagine Entertainment are about to do just that as they adapt JD Vance’s New York Times bestseller titled Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis.
None other than Apollo 13 director Ron Howard has jumped aboard the ambitious project as Deadline reports that the filmmaker is going to make Hillbilly Elegy a fully fledged motion picture. Brian Grazer and Erica Huggins helped Imagine to win the bidding war for the intellectual rights and the pair will be producing the film alongside Howard.
Trump Whisperer Could See When The Rest Where Blind
Although there was much Monday morning quarterbacking when it came to the fallout from Donald Trump's remarkable presidential win over Hillary Clinton in 2016, Vance was considered a trail blazer in shining a light to a demographic that the media forgot about. As the synopsis from the book illustrates, the political contributor on CNN delves into a region that many feel uncomfortable to confront.
"Hillbilly Elegy is a passionate and personal analysis of a culture in crisis—that of white working-class Americans. The decline of this group, a demographic of our country that has been slowly disintegrating over forty years, has been reported on with growing frequency and alarm, but has never before been written about as searingly from the inside. J. D. Vance tells the true story of what a social, regional, and class decline feels like when you were born with it hung around your neck."
Going through the ups and downs of a lower to middle-class family chasing the American Dream, his story runs in direct parallel to those that would eventually put the former reality television host into the hot seat. Such was the success of Vance's book, he was known as the "Trump Whisperer" in some quarters.
"The Vance family story begins hopefully in postwar America. J. D.’s grandparents were 'dirt poor and in love,' and moved north from Kentucky’s Appalachia region to Ohio in the hopes of escaping the dreadful poverty around them. They raised a middle-class family, and eventually their grandchild (the author) would graduate from Yale Law School, a conventional marker of their success in achieving generational upward mobility."
Poverty A Hard Tag To Remove In Continual Class Struggle
Vance was not just a journalist who ventured out into rural America, but lived it himself. This gave him the insight and authority to talk about the topic in the climate of a divided presidential election.
"But as the family saga of Hillbilly Elegy plays out, we learn that this is only the short, superficial version. Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and, most of all, his mother, struggled profoundly with the demands of their new middle-class life, and were never able to fully escape the legacy of abuse, alcoholism, poverty, and trauma so characteristic of their part of America. Vance piercingly shows how he himself still carries around the demons of their chaotic family history."