Netflix has released the trailer for their upcoming movie Hillbilly Elegy. The project stars Glenn Close and Amy Adams as members of a complicated Appalachian family. The movie doesn’t premiere until November and it already has whispers of Academy Award nominations, which bodes well for Netflix and director Ron Howard. Hillbilly Elegy is based on J.D Vance’s 2016 memoir of the same name and it explores the relationship between Appalachian mother and daughter Bev (Adams) and Mamaw (Close).
The Hillbilly Elegy story is told through the eyes of J.D. Vance, who is played by Gabriel Basso in the movie. The relationship between Bev and Mamaw is a complicated one, with them often feuding over Bev’s drug addiction. J.D. is Bev’s son, who is a Yale graduate and is forced to return to his hometown of Middletown, Ohio. The movie is described as “A modern exploration of the American Dream about three generations of an Appalachian family.”
Glenn Close and Amy Adams are unrecognizable in the first trailer for Hillbilly Elegy. Adams’ Bev is addicted to opioids and had J.D. when she was still a teenager. By getting out of town and going to Yale, J.D. tried to forget the world that he left behind, though he still kept a tight relationship with his Mamaw (Glenn Close). “I thought your mama was gonna be alright. Be happy,” Close’s Mamaw tells a young J.D. (Owen Asztalos) in the trailer. “I know I coulda done better. But you, you gotta decide. Do you want to be somebody or not?” Now in college, J.D. starts to see a correlation between generations of trauma and mental health as it pertains to his family and society as a whole. J.D. Vance had this to say about writing his memoir.
“My mom struggled with addiction in her life. She’s, you know, had a number of different marriages and – none of which were very successful. And I think when I first started writing the book, frankly, I was angry at my mom. I think I didn’t understand or appreciate why she didn’t make better choices. But as I realized how truly endemic these problems were, I think I started to realize that many of the problems that I saw in my family were much broader. They had much broader application across the community. And that really, I think, opened up my eyes and gave me quite a bit of sympathy and understanding towards my own family.”
In addition to Glenn Close, Amy Adams, Owen Asztalos, and Gabriel Basso, Hillbilly Elegy also stars Haley Bennett, Freida Pinto, and Bo Hopkins. The movie is executive produced by Diana Pokorny, Julie Oh, William M. Connor, J.D. Vance and produced by Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Karen Lunder. The movie is all set to open in select movie theaters in November before launching November 24th on Netflix.
Imagine Entertainment won the rights to J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy back in April 2017 with Ron Howard attached to direct. By February 2018, Vanessa Taylor tapped to adapt the memoir into a screenplay, and in October 2018 and March 2019, Howard was spotted in Middletown, Ohio scouting filming locations. Netflix won the bidding war for the project with $45 million. Production on Hillbilly Elegy wrapped in August 2019. You can check out the first trailer for Hillbilly Elegy above, thanks to the official Netflix YouTube channel.