*“When I read the book it related to me,” said two-time Academy Award-winning film director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) about his interest in directing the Imagine Entertainment drama Hillbilly Elegy starring three-time Tony Award-winning Glenn Close (Air Force One), three-time Academy Award-winning Amy Adams (Arrival), and Gabriel Basso (“iCarly”). “What peak my curiosity were the family members.”
The Hillbilly Elegy drama, which premiered on Netflix on November 24, 2020, is based on the memoir (Harper Press) of J. D. Vance focusing on three generations of his Kentucky Appalachian family striving for the American dream. He is the youngest member who was forced to return home from his studies at Yale’s Law School. He also served in the Marine Corps. It highlights his rocky relationship with his mother, a heroin user, and his grandmother who took over raising him.
“My family…is in Oklahoma. I called my great-grandmother mamaw. I didn’t know it was a cultural name for grandmother,” said Howard (The Da Vinci Code) about the similarities in his family’s Oklahoma norms and JD Vance’s Appalachian family norms. “I talked to J.D.; his voice has an accent, felt familiar. I was interested in a family story that dealt with Rural Americans I could connect with.”
Ron Howard was asked to direct the J.D. Vance memoir in 2017 after Imagine Entertainment won the rights, and Netflix required the distribution rights to it in 2019 for 45 million. The filming of Hillbilly Elegy began shortly after in Georgia and Ohio, and was completed within 43 days. Close plays Grandma Mamaw; Adams plays JD’s mother Bev; Basso plays JD; Bo Hopkins (Wyatt Earp: Return to Tombstone) plays Papaw; Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven) plays JD’s sister Lindsay; Frieda Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) plays Usha; David Dwyer plays Uncle Arch; Bill Kelly plays Uncle Pet, and Owen Asztalos plays a young JD Vance. It also stars Jesse C. Boyd, Stephen Kunden, Keong Sim, Morgan Gao, Ethan Suess, and Jono Mitchell. Producers include Ron Howard, Vanessa Taylor, Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder. Rated R, Hillbilly Elegy is an Imagine Entertainment Production. www.Netflix.com
SYNDICATED COLUMN: Eunice Moseley, MS, MBA, MPhil has an estimated weekly readership of over ¼ million with The Pulse of Entertainment. She is also a Public Relations Strategist and Business Management Consultant at Freelance Associates, and is Promotions Director (at-large) for The Baltimore Times. www.ThePulseofEntertainment.com. EVENTS: “Uplifting Minds II” Entertainment Conference (ULMII), founded by Eunice in 1999, is into its 21st year. Next events are coming Baltimore Saturday April 17, 2021 at Security Square Mall and Los Angeles Saturday November 6, 2021 at (TBD). The ULMII event is a free conference offering an Entertainment Business Panel Q&A Session, a Talent Showcase and Talent Competition (vocal, songwriting, dance and acting) where aspiring artists have a chance to receive over $15,000 valued in prizes/product/services. Log onto www.UpliftingMinds2.com for more information or email [email protected]