Delia Owens’ novel Where the Crawdads Sing was one of Reese Witherspoon’s book club picks that then got parlayed into a splashy film adaptation, not unlike the upcoming Daisy Jones and the Six and Gone Girl (produced when Witherspoon’s company was still called Pacific Standard). As is her standard operating procedure, Witherspoon promoted the novel via her book club, and then parlayed the book club pick into development with her own production company, and the popularity of the book ensures the adaptation will be met with maximum attention. No judgment, it’s good business. She’s turned her book club into a one-stop development shop.
The trailer for Crawdads dropped yesterday, showing off Daisy Edgar-Jones as Kya, “the marsh girl”, who grows up mostly feral and alone in the swamps of coastal Carolina. The book is fine, and the trailer looks fine, if kind of like an expensive Lifetime movie. That’s largely because they’re emphasizing the men fighting over Kya and the murder trial part of the book, and not the part where Kya views herself as one of the “sneaky f-cker” lady insects that destroy their mates, like praying mantises. That’s a WAY better part of the book, but I get why it’s not in the trailer. A woman introspecting by herself about how female insects “know how to treat their lovers” isn’t as cinematic as boat chases and pretty white men punching each other in the face.
And if you’re watching this trailer and thinking, Isn’t this just Reba McEntire’s “Fancy” but with paintings instead of music, you’re not NOT wrong. It is a little bit like “Fancy”! A young woman, thrust into the cold, unforgiving world alone, using her wit and her wiles to get by, with a talent that lifts her above the class she was born into—the pieces are all there. But it’s also a little bit “The Nights the Lights Went Out in Georgia”, what with the who dunnit and murder trial and what not. Speaking of country music stars and Reese Witherspoon productions, Witherspoon and Dolly Parton are teaming up to adapt the novel Parton co-wrote with James Patterson, Run Rose Run. Somehow, this wasn’t a book club pick. Is Reese losing her touch?!