'Where The Crawdads Sing' Director Wants Movie To Offer Hope In Troubling Times

HuffPost caught a sneak peek of Olivia Newman's film adaptation of Delia Owens' beloved novel, which opens in theaters July 15.
Taylor John Smith (left) and Daisy Edgar-Jones star in "Where the Crawdads Sing."
Taylor John Smith (left) and Daisy Edgar-Jones star in "Where the Crawdads Sing."
Michele K Short/Sony Pictures

Director Olivia Newman sees her new movie, “Where the Crawdads Sing,” as a testament to the power of human connection.

Adapted from Delia Owens’ bestselling novel, “Where the Crawdads Sing” follows Kya (played by Daisy Edgar-Jones), a young woman from the North Carolina wilderness who becomes a suspect in the murder of a local man, Chase (Harris Dickinson), who attempted to sexually assault her after a brief relationship.

HuffPost caught a sneak peek of the hotly anticipated film, which opens in theaters next week, via the below clip. The scene finds Delia in an emotional conversation in which she insists her lawyer (David Strathairn) get the jury ― and the community around her ― to acknowledge their biases before determining her fate.

Watch a scene from “Where the Crawdads Sing” below.

“By refusing to get on the stand and beg for fair treatment, Kya is taking a radical stance,” Newman told HuffPost. “She is claiming her self-worth by putting the onus on her lawyer to make the jury recognize their own prejudice.”

“I think this moment will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt ostracized, undervalued or mistreated as a result of bias or prejudice,” she continued.

“Where the Crawdads Sing” began its journey to the big screen just one month after its August 2018 release, when Reese Witherspoon selected the novel for her book club. In 2020, the Hollywood Reporter confirmed that Witherspoon would co-produce the movie adaptation, with Newman as its director. And last month, Taylor Swift unveiled “Carolina,” a new song she’d written and performed specifically for the film’s soundtrack.

From left: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor John Smith and Olivia Newman.
From left: Daisy Edgar-Jones, Reese Witherspoon, Taylor John Smith and Olivia Newman.
Jon Kopaloff via Getty Images

Best known for Netflix’s “First Match,” Newman praised Owens’ novel as “a story of remarkable resilience,” and is hopeful audiences will come away from the movie with “a feeling that we are all stronger and more resilient than we know.”

“Kya suffers one of the most traumatic losses imaginable as a child ― being abandoned by her own mother ― and not only manages to survive on her own in the marsh, but is also able to thrive. And she does so by observing nature and drawing lessons from it,” she said. “This is a film of hope at a time when we need just that.”

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