According to reports, Ron Howard‘s next project will certainly be a controversial one. He has chosen to adapt J.D. Vance’s memoir Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. A New York Times best-seller, Hillbilly Elegy was listed as one of the Time’s ‘Six Books to Help Understand Trump’s Win’. But while liberals have praised the book, conservatives have been quick to argue to book’s validity, making Howard’s decision to adapt it one that could certainly ruffle some feathers.
Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir tells the story of Vance’s own poor, white “hillbilly” family, who came from what’s called the Rust Belt. The Rust Belt is a region of the United States that stretches from Great Lakes to the upper Midwest and refers to economic decline, depleting resources, and shrinking population, all due to the loss of industries that once allowed the areas to thrive. Although his grandparents moved the family to Middletown, Ohio, in an attempt to flee the economically-deprived Appalachian region, Vance’s grandparents, aunt, uncle, sister, and his mother all struggled to ever be rid of their “hillbilly” upbringing, and truly acclimate to middle-class living. In the book, Vance focuses on the ‘myth’ of impoverished white communities living in squalor simply because of economical difficulties, and shines the light on how often, it is actually social and communal pressures that keep them there.
Vance himself later went on to become a marine and graduate from Yale Law School, an accomplishment far beyond what anyone expected of him. He currently lives in San Francisco, works in the Silicon Valley, and has contributed to the National Review and The New York Times as well as appeared on Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and CNBC. The 32 year-old’s controversial stance on ‘white America’ has brought both support and criticism, especially during the 2016 election, but his storytelling and authenticity is no doubt what drew Howard to the story.
Howard recently directed Inferno starring Tom Hanks, as well as the documentary The Beatles: Eight Days a Week-The Touring Years. He served as an executive producer on the upcoming Albert Einstein tv series Genius on National Geographic, and is serving as producer on the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King novel The Dark Tower, starring Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba. Getting his start as a child actor on The Andy Griffith Show and Happy Days, Howard gained respect as a director for his 2001 film A Beautiful Mind starring Russell Crowe, for which Howard won the Oscar for Best Director and Best Picture.