Netflix today announced that six-time Academy Award nominee and two-time Golden Globe winner Amy Adams (Vice, Sharp Objects, upcoming Woman in the Window) has joined the cast of Academy Award winner Ron Howard’s (A Beautiful Mind, Frost/Nixon, Apollo 13) Hillbilly Elegy.
Based on the bestselling memoir by J.D. Vance, Hillbilly Elegy is a modern exploration of the American Dream and three generations of an Appalachian family as told by its youngest member, a Yale Law student forced to return to his hometown.
The novel is officially described as follows:
“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.
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.
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.
A deeply moving memoir with its share of humor and vividly colorful figures, Hillbilly Elegy is the story of how upward mobility really feels. And it is an urgent and troubling meditation on the loss of the American dream for a large segment of this country.”
Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water) will adapt the screenplay based on the novel. The producers are Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder for Imagine Entertainment. The executive producers are Julie Oh and J.D. Vance.