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.”
Reese Witherspoon, Fox 2000 Tackling Vietnam Drama ‘League of Wives’
Fox 2000 and Reese Witherspoon are tackling the story of a little-known but key part of the Vietnam War.
The studio has preemptively acquired The League of Wives, an upcoming non-fiction book by Heath Lee, for Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine banner to produce an adaptation.
The book, which is to be published by St. Martin’s Press in April 2019, tells of a group of women — wives of military men who would never describe themselves as feminists — that banded together to save their husbands. When their fighter pilot husbands were shot down, captured and imprisoned for years under deplorable conditions during the Vietnam War, the group of well-educated military wives transformed into a league of take-charge lobbyists, human rights activists and even spies determined to do everything in their power to bring their POW and MIA spouses home. By 1973, the group had brought back 115 men.
“At Hello Sunshine, we strive to showcase brave, brilliant female characters, and the women of League of Wives are all of that and more,” Witherspoon, who will produce with Hello Sunshine exec Lauren Levy Neustadter, said Wednesday in a statement. “From the minute I heard about this inspiring true story, I knew it was a perfect fit for us. I’m excited to be partnering with the team at Fox 2000 to bring this special book to life onscreen, and to be giving audiences a glimpse at this meaningful moment in American history.”
Marisa Paiva and Molly Saffron will oversee for Fox 2000.
Lee is a museum curator and writer of women’s history and her book, whose complete title is The League of Wives: The Untold Story of the Women Who Took on the President, the Pentagon and the Rest of the US Government to Bring Their Husbands Home, is partially based on her museum exhibition on the same subject. She is repped by UTA and Katherine Flynn at Kneerim & Williams.
Take a look back at this past summer’s first-ever all-girl AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab, produced by Fresh Films! 21 teenage girls spent 8 days in Los Angeles filming a documentary under the guidance of mentors and professional creators. Along their journey, the aspiring young filmmakers had the opportunity to meet with some of the most powerful names in Hollywood, from music editor Julie Pearce to cinematographer Kira Kelly. Hear their stories and advice they gave the young female filmmakers!
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:
“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.”
Media company AT&T held their annual Business Summit at the end of September, and Reese was a guest speaker on one of their panels. AT&T co-owns Hello Sunshine with Reese. Reese spoke about equality and diversity, and increasing the presence of women in technology. Read more about the panel below, and find photos in our Gallery:
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
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