Reese Witherspoon has a knack for taking best-selling novels from page to screen. The actress, producer, and beloved book club founder has adapted Little Fires Everywhere for Hulu, as well as Big Little Lies for HBO, and has a docket of upcoming movies that is ever-growing. One of those anticipated films is Where the Crawdads Sing, adapted from Delia Owens’s 2018 novel.
Even if you haven’t read the ultra-popular book, you’ve probably seen its flamingo-pink cover grace bookshelves and Instagram posts over the past two years. Witherspoon has been a fan from the start, highlighting the novel in her book club in September 2018. By the end of that year, the actress and producer was already set to adapt the story for film. Here’s what we know of the project so far.
It contains two timelines.
Author Delia Owens, a wildlife scientist and award-winning nature writer, was in her 70s when she published Where the Crawdads Sing, her first fiction novel. Set in the marshes of North Carolina, it follows two storylines: one of the “Marsh Girl,” Kya Clark, an outcast who comes of age in the swamp; and the other of a murder mystery in those same wetlands.
“There is so much to her story: romance, mystery, and a murder… and it takes place in the breathtaking backdrop of the South. I didn’t want this story to end!” Witherspoon previously said of the book.
Daisy Edgar-Jones will star.
The British actress is one of the breakout stars of Hulu’s 2020 hit Normal People, the gripping streaming adaptation of Sally Rooney’s novel of the same name. After the Emmy-nominated show premiered in the spring, Edgar-Jones and costar Paul Mescal quickly became two of the biggest up-and-comers of the year.
Her credits also include the TV series War of the Worlds and the upcoming thriller Fresh.
Olivia Newman is directing.
Olivia Newman made her feature film debut with the award-winning festival hit First Match (2018), which was officially released on Netflix. Lucy Alibar (Troop Zero, Beasts of the Southern Wild) is penning the script. Witherspoon and her right hand, Lauren Neustadter, who worked with her on Little Fires Everywhere and The Morning Show, are producing under the actress’s Hello Sunshine company.
Witherspoon says it’s “very fulfilling.”
“I read a lot, and I love the effect it has on the authors,” Witherspoon tells Harper’s BAZAAR of adapting her favorite books into films.
Witherspoon added that it’s “really exciting” to turn Crawdads into a motion picture. “It’s just one of those really exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” she said. “It’s very fulfilling.”
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