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‘Shape of Water’ Writer Vanessa Taylor Boards Ron Howard’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’

Oscar nominee Vanessa Taylor, who co-wrote “The Shape of Water” with Guillermo del Toro, has signed on to write “Hillbilly Elegy” project for Ron Howard.

Hillbilly Elegy” is being developed as a contemporary economic drama based on J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir of the same name. Howard came on to the project last year to produce with Imagine Entertainment chairman Brian Grazer and the company’s president Erica Huggins.

Imagine acquired the movie rights to the book following a bidding war in April. Vance’s book recaps growing up in the Rust Belt and the everyday struggles of America’s white working class as they navigate through drug addiction, and social and economic challenges. Vance grew up in Middletown, Ohio, and the Appalachian town of Jackson, Kentucky. After enlisting in the Marine Corps and serving in Iraq, he graduated from Ohio State University and Yale Law School. He joined CNN as a political contributor last year.

Taylor and del Toro’s script for “The Shape of Water” is competing in the original screenplay category against “The Big Sick,” “Get Out,” “Lady Bird,” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” “Get Out” won the award from the Writers Guild of America on Feb. 11.

Taylor is a writer and co-producer on HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Her other feature credits include “Divergent” and “Hope Springs.”

She’s repped by ICM Partners, Management 360 and Ziffren, Brittenham. The news was first reported by Deadline.

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