Where the Crawdads Sing is a literary phenomenon. Written by Delia Owens, the novel spins a murder-mystery yarn set in rural North Carolina, while also sensitively exploring a coming-of-age narrative and cutting between multiple timelines. Reese Witherspoon loved it so much, she made it an official selection of her “Reese’s Book Club,” and is now attached to produce the film adaptation. Now, Witherspoon’s film adaptation of the beloved book has found its director.
Per The Hollywood Reporter, Olivia Newman will be directing Where the Crawdads Sing, from a screenplay by Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild). Newman’s last feature was the award-winning First Match, a Netflix sports drama starring Elvire Emanuelle,
Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and Jharrel Jerome about a Brooklyn teen who joins a boy’s wrestling team to try and better her life. It’s a grittier picture than the oft-lyrical prose of Where the Crawdads Sing might suggest intuitively, and it will be interesting to see Newman modify her style to fit the adaptation (though THR does report she’ll be rewriting Alibar’s script). Newman has also directed episodes of network dramas like FBI, Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.
Witherspoon is producing Where the Crawdads Sing for Sony alongside Lauren Neustadter, Witherspoon’s producing partner on projects like Little Fires Everywhere, Big Little Lies, and The Morning Show, through their production banner Hello Sunshine. With all the talent behind this team, and all the experience delivering tough but empathetic female-driven stories, oft-based on acclaimed books, Where the Crawdads Sing just might be the next big mystery movie phenomenon, a Gone Girl with a conscience.
For more on what Witherspoon is up to, here’s the latest intel on Legally Blonde 3.