Gabriel Basso Set As Lead Of ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ Opposite Amy Adams, Glenn Close


EXCLUSIVE: Gabriel Basso has been set by director Ron Howard for the lead role of J.D Wade in Hillbilly Elegy for Netflix. Basso will star opposite Amy Adams and Glenn Close for director Ron Howard.

Basso previously co-starred in J.J. Abrams’s Super 8, Jordan Vogt-Robert’s The Kings of Summer and The Whole Truth opposite Keanu Reeves. Vanessa Taylor (The Shape Of Water) wrote the script based on the acclaimed book by J.D. Vance. It’s a potential star making role for the young actor.

The lead character is based on the author, whose memoir is about the Appalachian values of his Kentucky family and their relation to the social problems of his hometown of Middletown, Ohio, where his mother’s parents moved when they were young. It’s an analysis of the poor white underclass, of growing up in the Rust Belt and of race and privilege in America. Raised poor among working-class “hillbillies,” the author explored his childhood and family struggles as they navigate drug addiction, and social and economic challenges. Supported by his larger-than-life grandmother, he developed a deep appreciation for education that laid the foundation for him to rise out of poverty and its cultural restraints. The author eventually joined the Marines and became a Yale Law School grad.

Howard is producing with Brian Grazer and Karen Lunder for Imagine Entertainment. Julie Oh and J.D. Vance are executive producers.

Imagine acquired the book at auction in 2017 and Netflix made a deal for a $45M budget film in a heated bidding war earlier this year. The book was a bestseller for 74 weeks.

Basso is represented by WME.

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