Gabriel Basso has been cast as the lead in Ron Howard’s next film, an adaptation of “Hillbilly Elegy.”
Basso joins Academy Award-nominated actors Glenn Close and Amy Adams in the film, which is set up at Netflix.
The film is based on the best-selling memoir by J.D. Vance. In addition to directing, Howard will produce alongside Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder for Imagine Entertainment. Julie Oh and Vance will executive produce.
“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 book chronicles Vance’s 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.
Vanessa Taylor (“The Shape of Water”) will adapt the screenplay based on Vance’s memoir.
Basso’s role, which is based on Vance, has the potential to be a star-making one. Basso previously appeared in J.J. Abrams’ “Super 8,” as well as “The Kings of Summer” and alongside Keanu Reeves in 2016’s “The Whole Truth.”
Earlier this year, Netflix won a bidding war for the right to finance “Hillbilly Elegy,” which Imagine Entertainment optioned back in April 2017.
“Hillbilly Elegy” topped the New York Times best-seller list upon its release in August 2016 and then again in January 2017.
Basso is represented by WME.