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Reese Witherspoon to Produce ‘Where the Crawdads Sing’ Adaptation for Fox 2000
Fox 2000 has acquired the best-selling novel “Where the Crawdads Sing” and has tapped Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine to produce a feature film adaptation.
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.
The December/January edition of Fast Company magazine has a snippet on Reese – it’s a short but good read. Find a scan of it in our Gallery.
A day in the life of Reese Witherspoon
How Hello Sunshine founder Reese Witherspoon capitalizes on her strengths to get things done.
I have a 6-year-old who likes to have milk at 6 o’clock every morning, so from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m., he drinks milk, and my husband [CAA agent Jim Toth] and I drink coffee. We talk and catch up on the news—Jim likes to hear it, I like to read it. After that, I work out for an hour, then go to work.
Assuming I’m not on a set somewhere acting, or traveling for, say, a shoot for [her clothing company] Draper James or Elizabeth Arden [she’s a brand collaborator], I’ll go to the Hello Sunshine office or a meeting related to something we’re developing. I quit driving a year ago. My husband said, “Babe, you’re a terrible driver. Get someone to do that for you.” And it’s great because that’s the time I now spend catching up on phone calls or texts. I’ve deliberately stripped away a lot of the layers of people who silo you off as an actor. That changed when I started producing: I’m putting my money into this; this is my sweat equity, all the equity I have. If you have a problem, call me directly.
It occurs to me at about 6 o’clock that I should probably do something fun at 7:30. I have two girlfriends who are good at that, and thank God, because [otherwise] I’d have no life. I can’t get groups of people on vacation either. That’s not my thing. I’m okay with that.
I get home around 5:30 or 6 for family dinner—that’s important to me. I hear what the kids [she also has a 19-year-old daughter, Ava, and a 15-year-old son, Deacon, from her first marriage, to Ryan Phillippe] are doing and how they’re feeling. I put my 6-year-old to bed at 8, and then I read for two hours. Or I’ll watch a TV show. I love The Crown, Queer Eye, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Oh, and the latest Chris Rock special on Netflix. He does this great bit about being brutally honest with your children. I feel like I’m constantly counteracting pressure from the parents who want to make the lives of their kids golden and magical at all moments! Guess what, kids? You’re going to be disappointed and uncomfortable once in a while. I remember Ava crying in bed in third grade—she was on JV basketball and she was the only kid on the team who didn’t score. I said, “Aves, maybe you’re bad at basketball.” She thought that was mean. I said, “Mean or true? ‘Cause, guess what? Your mom’s bad at basketball, too.”
A version of this article appeared in the December 2018/January 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.
Reese is included in Entrepreneur magazine’s ’50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs in 2018′ featurette in their November issue. The magazine highlights her Hello Sunshine company and the different mediums it is using. Find the scan in our Gallery and the article below:
The 50 Most Daring Entrepreneurs in 2018
Entrepreneurship isn’t easy. It requires bold action. We spotlight 50 entrepreneurs who dared to go big in the past year — and who can inspire us all to dare even bigger.
Founder: Hello Sunshine
Bold move: Proving that women will watch — and read, and listen
Everyone knows Reese Witherspoon can make a good movie. The Academy Award–winning actress long ago proved her production chops with the films Gone Girl and Wild. But in 2016, Witherspoon launched production company Hello Sunshine to create wide-ranging content for women and in the past year alone announced a podcast network with Rooster Teeth, an Oprah-style book club and partnership with Audible and a brand-new VOD television channel. With every project, Witherspoon is investing in her big-picture goal: proving that women are valuable, hungry consumers of content.
On Friday, Reese attended the Texas Conference for Women in Austin, where she talked about how she developed Hello Sunshine, and increasing the presence of women in the media. Reese re-iterated her statement from the 2015 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards about ambition not being a “dirty word”, and said that ambition is about supporting and encouraging those around you.
Unfortunately I’ve only found one official photo from the event – which you can find in our Gallery. Below are a couple of articles/interviews from the event, and browse through our Twitter ‘moment’ for social media reaction to Reese’s key-note speech.
Actress Reese Witherspoon Encourages Women to be Ambitious
Early on as an actress in Hollywood, when Reese Witherspoon attended meetings to discuss her movie characters and mentioned a character flaw she would like to accentuate, the male producers would almost always say yes, but that would make her unlikable.
In those meetings, Witherspoon said she felt like she was always reminded she had to stay in her lane. Stay in a place that felt comfortable for everybody and conformed to some other person’s definition of what made a woman likable.
“I think as I got older I said, I’ve had enough of that,” Witherspoon said.
“Women are complicated, they are complex, they are dynamic,” Witherspoon said. “Those are the women I want to see on the screen.”
Continue reading this entry »
The first #SheIsEqual Summit was held in New York in September, with the aim of promoting gender equality, increasing the presence of women in media, and ensuring accurate portrayals of women on screen. Reese attended and spoke at the event, talking about her Hello Sunshine brand and the importance of female-driven content. Read more about the summit below, and find photos in our Gallery:
• #SheIsEqual Summit x10
“I’ve done a lot of things for myself, and now it’s time to do more for others and change the story for women in this world. And I started a company. I self-funded it, which was terrifying because I didn’t know if it’s going to do well and quite honestly for a couple of years it wasn’t making any money. But now it’s incredible to change storytelling and to hire female directors and to hire writers with different backgrounds. And I feel enormously proud of the company and thrilled to wake up every morning with that kind of mission in my life. I hope I will leave my industry in a better place where I found it.”
Continue reading this entry »
Here’s Reese on Aussie news show Sunrise earlier this month, promoting ‘Whiskey In A Teacup’. She also mentions Big Little Lies, cooking for her BLL co-stars, her Australian friends Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts & Isla Fisher, and Ava’s ‘win’ on the night Reese won her Oscar!
• Sunrise – September 30th 2018 (Screencaptures) x206
Reese Witherspoon Producing Comedy ‘Americanized’ About Undocumented Iranian Family From Sara Saedi At ABC
ABC has put in development Americanized, a half-hour comedy inspired by Sara Saedi’s memoir Americanized: Rebel Without A Green Card, from Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine and ABC Studios, where Hello Sunshine has a broadcast overall deal.
Written by Saedi (iZombie), Americanized tells the story of a loving and off-beat Iranian family who’s been living with a huge secret: they’re undocumented immigrants. Told through an irreverent, heartfelt and a-political lens, the series will give viewers a window into the life of a Middle-Eastern household while exploring the universal truths that bond every type of “American” family.
In the book, Saedi shares her story of growing up in San Jose, California in a loving Iranian family and her shock when she discovers she and the rest of her family are undocumented.
Saidi executive produces with Hello Sunshine’s Witherspoon and Lauren Levy Neustadter. ABC Studios is the studio.
The deal comes nine years after ABC took a stab at an Iranian family comedy with Funny In Farsi, based on Firoozeh Dumas’s “Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America.” The project went to a pilot directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, marking the first pilot order for producer Aaron Kaplan, but did not make the cut to series.
In the past few years, ABC has been looking to expand its family comedy brand to better represent different sections of American society. The network successfully launched an African-American family comedy with Black-ish, an Asian American family comedy with Fresh Off the Boat and also tried to find another hit Latinx family comedy with Cristela. In addition to Americanized, ABC also is developing multi-generational Latinx family comedy Food and Familia from Peter Murrieta and Overbrook Entertainment starring Danny Trejo whose life inspired it.
In addition to the CW’s iZombie, Saedi previously wrote for Fox’s The Goodwin Games. She is now on the upcoming ABC/ABC Studios drama Grand Hotel. Saedi is repped by Gersh and Nacelle Company.
Hello Sunshine’s series portfolio includes a limited series at Hulu from Witherspoon and Kerry Washington, based on Celeste Ng’s 2017 bestseller Little Fires Everywhere; a comedy series for Apple created by Colleen McGuinness and inspired by Curtis Sittenfeld’s short-story collection You Think It, I’ll Say It; Apple series Are You Sleeping, executive produced by and starring Octavia Spencer; a limited series adaptation of the novel Daisy Jones & The Six for Amazon; and an Untitled Morning Show series at Apple produced by and starring Jennifer Aniston and Witherspoon. The company is repped by CAA and Gretchen Rush.
Inc.com have published their list of their 100 most impressive female entrepreneurs, and Reese is included:
100 Women Making Money, Creating Jobs and Changing the World
They are scientists, creatives, MBAs, data-nerds, and visionaries. For some, it’s the first time they’ve ever started a company. Others have been at this for decades. The Female Founders 100 are the entrepreneurs Inc. has been most intrigued by in the last year, whose smarts are rattling industries far and wide.
Hello Sunshine/Draper James
Every year seems like Witherspoon’s year, but the past few set records. In 2016, she launched Hello Sunshine, a new storytelling vehicle that aims to change the narrative around women–then went on to produce, star in, and win Emmys for HBO’s Big Little Lies while running her fashion and homewares brand, Draper James. Whether it’s through Hulu and Apple TV–she’s locked in development deals with both–her own on-demand TV channel, or her book club rivaling Oprah’s, Witherspoon is channeling her smarts and financial power to fix the gender imbalance in entertainment.
To celebrate our 16 years online, here we are spotlighting 16 of our favourite Reese things from the past 16 years. You will see a new one upon refreshing or changing the page.
"It took me years to be the woman my mother raised. It took me 4 years, 7 months and 3 days to do it, without her. After I lost myself in the wilderness of my grief, I found my own way out of the woods."
Big Little Lies (2017)
Genre: HBO TV Series - Drama
S2 - Filming in California now
News / Info / Photos / Official Site
Home Again (2017)
Genre: Romantic Comedy
On DVD/digital download now
News / Info / Photos / Official Site
A Wrinkle In Time (2017)
Role: Mrs Whatsit
Genre: Adventure, Family, Fantasy
On DVD /digital download June 5th (US)
News / Info / Photos / Official Site
→ Full Filmography
Legally Blonde 3
Untitled TV Project with Jennifer Aniston
Little Fires Everywhere
Untitled Producing Project with Kristin Wiig
Are You Sleeping
Luckiest Girl Alive
Tiny Beautiful Things
Barbie origins project
→ Rumoured Roles News → All Projects In Development
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