Ron Howard to direct, produce 'Hillbilly Elegy' film

Posted at 7:35 AM, Apr 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-11 08:08:06-04

MIDDLETOWN, Ohio -- The bestselling 2016 memoir that captured the ethos of the struggling white working class in Rust Belt towns will soon become a Ron Howard-directed film.

“Hillbilly Elegy,” written by J.D. Vance, chronicled his upbringing in Middletown and in Jackson, Kentucky. It was one of the year’s most prominent nonfiction books, spending 20 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

"I grew up poor, in the Rust Belt, in an Ohio steel town that has been hemorrhaging jobs and hope for as long as I can remember,” Vance wrote about Middletown in the book’s introduction.

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Vanity Fairreports Howard will produce the drama with Imagine Entertainment. A writer has not yet been selected.

Vance enlisted in the Marine Corps after high school and served in Iraq. He graduated from The Ohio State University and Yale Law School and became a principal at a leading Silicon Valley investment firm, according to his Harper Collins biography.

At the end of 2016, Vance announced he would relocate to Ohio and start a nonprofit organization called Our Ohio Renewal to address issues such as upward mobility and the opioid epidemic.