Where The Crawdads Sing First Look: Daisy Edgar-Jones Swoons In The Adaptation Of The Bestseller

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Daisy Edgar Jones, literary lead-extraordinaire, is slated to hit the big screen in the upcoming adaptation of "Where The Crawdads Sing," the best-selling novel from Oliva Newman.

The film tells the story of Catherine Danielle Clark, better known as Kya, but best known to the quiet town of Barkley Cove as "Marsh Girl." The intelligent teen has lived alone in the marsh since childhood and when a young man she's become entangled with winds up dead, the community assumes the weird girl has turned murderous, turning on her completely. Abandoned by her family and ostracized by the town, Kya comes of age while yearning for connection and showcasing resilience. The novel was praised for its s lyrical prose and compelling mystery, earning it a spot on the New York Times bestseller list — so naturally, an adaptation was inevitable. 

Here's a more detailed synopsis of the book:

For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life–until the unthinkable happens. "Where the Crawdads Sing" is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. Owens reminds us that we are forever shaped by the children we once were, and that we are all subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.

Along with Edgar-Jones in the starring role, the film features Taylor John Smith ("Sharp Objects") as her love interest, Tate Walker, and Harris Dickinson ("The King's Man") as the mysteriously dead Chase Andrews. Though we have ways to go before the film arrives in July 2022, Sony has offered our first look at the series and each of these characters.

First Look at Where The Crawdads Sing

Our first look at the literary adaptation comes from Vanity Fair, featuring photos of Dickinson, Smith, and Edgar-Jones, with more cast members featured in the rest of the photos.

One of the most familiar names behind "Where The Crawdads Sing" is Reese Witherspoon: the actress and producer has proven she knows a thing or two about choosing novels for adaptation. Witherspoon chose the book as part of her Hello Sunshine Book Club in 2018, so the film now joins the long line of projects Witherspoon has supported there before adapting, including "Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine," "Big Little Lies," and "Little Fires Everywhere." 

As for this particular project, Witherspoon told Vanity Fair that it spoke to her as a "love letter to growing up in the South." She said:

"I read this novel probably in one day, maybe two days. I just couldn't put it down. I fell in love with Kya as a main character, as a little girl who's growing up in this very rural area, who's shunned by society, and is trying to find a way to just save herself, just survive. And the way that Delia Owens wrote this book with such authenticity, you could just tell she really grew up in this place. She really appreciated the nature around her. The book is a love letter to growing up in the South, which for me really resonated because I grew up in New Orleans and Nashville."

Alongside producers Elizabeth Gabler and Lauren Neustadter, Witherspoon found a screenwriter in Lucy Alibar, the Oscar-nominated scribe behind "Beasts of the Southern Wild." Helming the story is director Olivia Newman, whose debut film "First Match" took home the audience award at the 2018 SXSW film festival. The film followed a young girl who grew up in the foster care system as she began her journey into the world of boxing. While it doesn't have much in common with "Crawdads" on the surface, Newman explained:

"Both of these movies are about girls who are facing incredible odds, who are growing up in very hostile environments...and discover an incredible skill that helps them survive."

When it came time to cast the lead role, the creatives immediately took to Edgar-Jones, who had recently launched into fame with her hit Hulu series, "Normal People." Witherspoon said: 

"Daisy is just a once-in-a-lifetime talent. She's just a deep-feeling, sentient human who can really morph herself into so many different characters, but you feel her vulnerability and ferocity in this performance."

As for Edgar-Jones, she expressed her excitement over the role, saying: "[Kya] has such an inner strength that I would love to have myself. She's complicated, flawed, brilliant...and survives against all odds." This seems to be a trend for the actress, who recently appeared in the Hulu thriller "Fresh" as a woman who survives against very alarming odds. Other than her penchant for survival, Kya seems to be a very different character from the actress who has an all around exciting year planned between these two films and her upcoming FX series, "Under The Banner of Heaven."

"Where The Crawdads Sing" will makes its theatrical debut on July 22, 2022