'Where the Crawdads Sing' Movie Adaptation Finds Its Director

Olivia Newman -Where the Crawdads Sing- Getty - Publicity - Split - H 2020
Ismael Quintanilla/Getty Images; Penguin Random House

Olivia Newman will helm, while Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter are set to produce.

The movie adaptation of best-selling murder mystery novel Where the Crawdads Sing has found its director.

Olivia Newman, who wrote and directed Netflix feature First Match, will helm Sony Pictures' feature adaptation of the Delia Owens' debut novel that has dominated the New York Times best-sellers list since it was published 2019. It was also the most-sold fiction book on Amazon for all of 2019.

Reese Witherspoon and Lauren Neustadter are producing via their banner Hello Sunshine for 3000 Pictures, Sony's lit-minded feature label.

The story follows Kya, a young woman who is abandoned by her family and is left alone to raise herself on a marsh outside a small North Carolina town. After she becomes a respected author, publishing reference books on the local flora and fauna of her marsh, she is accused of murder of her former boyfriend, the town's golden boy. The story is both a crime thriller and a coming-of-age tale that intertwines two timelines.

Oscar-nominated Beasts of the Southern Wild scribe Lucy Alibar is writing the script. Sources say that Newman will oversee a rewrite and direct the project.

Published by G.P. Putnam's Son in August 2018, the book was plucked by Witherspoon as the pick of her book club in September 2018. It then took off, spending 97 weeks on The New York Times best-seller list, is No. 1 in hardcover fiction and No. 1 in audio, and has sold more than 7 million copies worldwide.

Elizabeth Gabler, Erin Siminoff and Aislinn Dunster are overseeing for 3000 Pictures.

The project is a major get for Newman, who made her feature debut with First Match, the 2018 streaming sports drama that had a budget of just over $1 million and centered on a teenage girl from Brooklyn who decides to join the boys wrestling team. The drama won the Audience Award for best narrative feature film in competition and the LUNA Gamechanger Award for best female director of a first feature. She has also directed a handful of episodes of network series FBI and Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

Newman was also part of the Sundance/Universal Fellowship program and part of NBC's inaugural Female Forward Initiative. She is repped by WME, Grandview and Jackoway Austen.