Where The Crawdads Sing: everything you need to know about Reese Witherspoon’s book-to-film adaptation

Posted by for Books

Reese Witherspoon is set to produce a feature film adaptation of Delia Owen’s best-selling debut novel. Here is everything we know about the project so far.

Delia Owen’s best-selling novel Where The Crawdads Sing has been a favourite at Stylist ever since its release in 2019, so we were pretty chuffed to learn it was one of the most-purchased books on Amazon during lockdown. 

Set in mid-20th century North Carolina, Owen’s debut novel follows the story of Kya Clark, a young girl who is left to fend for herself in the marsh when her mother and father abandon her. Left to her own devices, Kya quickly becomes accustomed to life in the marsh – a fact which makes her mysterious and unnerving to the people of the nearby town, Barkley Cove.

Packed full of romance, mystery and drama, it’s hardly surprising that Where The Crawdads Sing has become such a hit. Indeed, one of the book’s biggest fans is actress Reese Witherspoon, who featured the novel as part of her book club and has since been signed on to produce the book as a feature film under her company Hello Sunshine.

News about the film has been pretty quiet since it was announced Witherspoon would be joining the project back in 2018, but we’ve finally got some updates on what we can expect from the movie – including who is going to be directing.

So without further ado, here’s everything we know about the adaptation of Where The Crawdads Sing so far. 

What is the plot of Where The Crawdads Sing?

Owen’s novel follows the story of Kya Clark from a young age, when her mother walks out on her family in search of a different life. One by one, Kya’s siblings leave home to escape their abusive father, until he himself disappears one day, leaving Kya to fend for herself in the middle of the marsh.

Left without any source of income – and very few people to talk to – Kya is forced to adapt and learn to live with her surroundings as she grows up. When the time comes when she yearns for a relationship outside the solitary confines of the marsh, Kya finds comfort in two young men from the local village who are intrigued to learn more about her way of life. 

But when one of the boys is found dead many years later, Kya becomes the prime suspect in his murder.

Intrigued? You can heck out the first chapter of Where The Crawdads Sing here.

Who is behind Where The Crawdads Sing?

Reese Witherspoon will be producing the film alongside Hello Sunshine’s Lauren Levy Neudstadter. The project is also being overseen by Erin Siminoff and Elizabeth Gabler of Sony’s 3000 Pictures, the latter of whom has a number of successful literary adaptations to her name, including The Devil Wears Prada and Hidden Figures.

Oscar-nominated writer Lucy Alibar, who penned the script for Beasts Of The Southern Wild, is writing the screenplay.

Who is in the cast of Where The Crawdads Sing?

We don’t have any definite casting news yet, but we’ll keep our eyes peeled for any updates.

It’s also still unclear whether Witherspoon will join the cast – for another of her upcoming literary adaptations Little Fires Everywhere, she took on an acting role alongside her producer responsibilities.

Who is directing Where The Crawdads Sing?

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Olivia Newman, who wrote and directed the Netflix feature First Match, is set to direct the film. She is also said to be overseeing a rewrite of the project.

When and where can you watch Where The Crawdads Sing?

We don’t know much about when we can expect the film just yet, but we do know that the production process is definitely underway. 

Sign up for the latest news and must-read features from Stylist, so you don't miss out on the conversation.

By entering my email I agree to Stylist’s Privacy Policy

Image: Getty

Share this article

Recommended by Lauren Geall