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Netflix Boards Ron Howard’s ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ in $45 Million Deal

Netflix will fully finance the economic drama “Hillbilly Elegy,” with Ron Howard directing and producing through Imagine Entertainment.

The streamer has committed to spend $45 million on the film after winning an auction conducted by CAA.

Imagine began developing “Hillbilly Elegy” after winning the movie rights in 2017. The company signed Oscar nominee Vanessa Taylor, who co-wrote “The Shape of Water” with Guillermo del Toro, to adapt the script last year from J.D. Vance’s bestselling memoir of the same name. Imagine partner Brian Grazer and the company’s Karen Lunder will also produce. Julie Oh is the exec producer.

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, Ky. 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 in 2017.

Howard is currently in post-production on the Luciano Pavarotti documentary “Pavarotti.” He directed the 2017 doc “The Beatles: Eight Days a Week” and last year’s “Solo: A Star Wars Story” after Disney replaced Phil Lord and Christopher Miller in mid-production. The news about “Hillbilly Elegy” was first reported by Deadline Hollywood.

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