Witherspoon’s involvement is not a great surprise. The Oscar winner has been a champion of the book, selecting it for inclusion in her Reese’s Book Club. “Where the Crawdads Sing,” Delia Owens’ debut novel, has been on the best-seller list for the past 12 weeks. Fox 2000 is also a natural home. Under the leadership of Elizabeth Gabler, the label has developed a knack for turning literary properties into movies, developing the likes of “The Fault in Our Stars” and “The Devil Wears Prada” into hit movies.
“With a jaw-dropping mystery, stunning Southern setting, and endlessly fascinating female heroine at its center, I loved this book the moment I read it and am so excited to join forces with Elizabeth and her team to bring Delia’s truly moving page-turner to the screen,” Witherspoon said in a statement.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” is set in a small town in the South and focuses on a young woman named Kya who raises herself in the marshes after she is abandoned by her family. After her former boyfriend is found dead, Kya becomes the prime suspect in his murder. The book has been described as a mixture of a crime thriller and a coming-of-age tale. Witherspoon and her partner Lauren Levy Neustadter will produce the pic for Hello Sunshine.
The storyline is in keeping with Hello Sunshine’s mandate. Witherspoon founded the company in 2016 with the goal of promoting female-driven projects. That fits in with “Where the Crawdads Sing,” which is written be a female writer and has a female protagonist. Other Hello Sunshine projects include a Hulu adaptation of Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller “Little Fires Everywhere” that will feature Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, and “Are You Sleeping,” an adaptation of Kathleen Barber’s novel of the same name that will be executive produced by and star Octavia Spencer.
“I knew and loved Delia’s writing so when I saw that Reese’s Book Club was recommending her new book, I started reading it right away. It is absolutely exquisite, so I immediately reached out to Reese and Lauren and said I wanted to bring it to life on film alongside them,” Gabler said in a statement. “We at Fox 2000 have an incredible synergy with Reese, Lauren, and their team at Hello Sunshine, and I am elated that we can once again be partners in the creation of yet another extraordinary film from an outstanding literary property.”
Gabler and Erin Siminoff will oversee production for Fox 2000.
Owens is new to fiction writing, but she has literary experience, having co-authored three acclaimed non-fiction books about her life as a wildlife scientist. They include “Cry of the Kalahari,” “The Eye of the Elephant,” and “Secrets of the Savanna.”
Owens is represented by CAA and Russell Galen of Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency. Hello Sunshine is represented by CAA and Hansen, Jacobson. G.P. Putnam’s Sons published “Where the Crawdads Sing” in August.