Imagine Entertainment Acquires Film Rights to ‘Hillybilly Elegy’

Film will be produced by Brian Grazer with Ron Howard directing

Imagine Entertainment has acquired the film rights to J.D. Vance’s NY Times bestselling memoir “Hillbilly Elegy,” Imagine Entertainment Chairman Brian Grazer and Imagine Entertainment President Erica Huggins announced Monday.

The film will be produced by Grazer and Imagine Entertainment Chairman Ron Howard, with Howard also directing. Imagine’s Erica Huggins is also producing, with Julie Oh overseeing the project.

Vance’s book chronicles his life growing up poor in the Rust Belt among the working class “hillbillies” and charts his family’s struggle, as they navigate through drug addiction, and social and economic challenges. Supported by his larger than life grandmother, Vance developed an appreciation for education that laid the foundation for him to rise out of poverty and its cultural restraints.

“‘Hillbilly Elegy’ is a powerful, true coming-of-age memoir by J.D. Vance,” said Huggins. “Through the lens of a colorful, chaotic family, and with remarkable compassion and self-awareness, J.D. has been able to look back on his own upbringing as a ‘hillbilly’ to illuminate the plight of America’s white working class, speaking directly to the turmoil of our current political climate,” said Huggins.

“Hillbilly Elegy” has spent 36 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller list and included on numerous top book lists including Amazon Top 20 Best Books of 2016, Washington Post’s Notable Nonfiction Books of 2016, Time’s 2016 list of the Top 10 Nonfiction Books, and People’s Book of the Year list to name a few. It has sold 680,000 copies to date and has been published in 14 international markets.

Alicia Gordon/WME negotiated the deal on behalf of Vance with Steve Shikiya/Imagine Entertainment and Logan Clare/Ziffren Brittenham LLP for Imagine.