Where The Crawdads Sing is a faithful adaptation of Delia Owens’ bestselling novel of the same name. Daisy Edgar-Jones, Taylor John Smith, and Harris Dickinson star in the film and bring the three central characters to life on the big screen. Taylor, who plays Kya’s first love Tate, told HollywoodLife EXCLUSIVELY that he was up for the role of Chase first.
“I actually originally auditioned for Chase. My first audition was for Chase,” Taylor said. “I think Livvie Newman, the director, emailed back and was like, ‘Hey, I know this is last minute, but can you prepare for Tate? And we’ll do a chemistry read with you and Daisy.’ It was very fast-paced, and I just connected a lot more with Tate. I think it made more sense to Olivia as well. And then I got to meet Daisy virtually, and we just connected. It was kind of instantaneous, and I’m so glad that worked out that way. Because my sisters, when they found out that I was working on the film, they were like, ‘Who are you playing? Chase or Tate?’ And you better answer right.’ And I was like, ‘Tate. Don’t hurt me.’ And they’re like, ‘Good answer.’”
For Taylor, he was intrigued by how inherently good Tate is despite all that’s happened to him. “I think kindness is really sexy,” Taylor told HollywoodLife. While he pointed out that Tate is not “this cookie cutter, perfect guy,” he does “come back and make amends and make it right. I just think I loved how kind he was. He didn’t view anybody in the town — her, Jumpin, or Mabel — as anybody other than people that needed love. Tate losing his mom and his little sister in a car crash early in his life I think helped him connect with Kya’s character in a way that a lot of people weren’t able to. I think he understood pain and understood that kindness can be that antidote to that pain.”
The marsh is where Tate and Kya’s love story begins. “At the beginning, that’s kind of how they develop their relationship is mutual love and affection for nature and the marsh and biology,” Taylor noted. “That ends up growing into something bigger, a love for each other towards the middle of the film and through the end.” The cast filmed on location in New Orleans, which subbed for the book’s North Carolina setting.
“I feel like when watching it, you can see the humidity. I know it sounds weird, but [that’s] our real sweat and us try not to smack our faces when mosquitoes are biting us in the middle of a scene, snakes rolling around, alligators everywhere, the most beautiful sunsets. and the cacophony of cicadas and insects chirping in the background. It really pulls you into it, and the movie wouldn’t be the same without it,” Taylor admitted.
Like the book, the movie ends with the reveal that Kya was the one to kill Chase after all. She went on trial for his murder, but she was found innocent. Before he knew the ending, Taylor “100 percent” thought that Tate killed Chase. “The entire time reading I’m like, ‘This guy murdered, Chase 100 percent.’ But then as I continued reading, I’m like, ‘What kind of person allows someone to go on trial for their life?’ I was like, ‘Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t. Maybe he’s just a coward.’ I don’t know. I couldn’t figure it out,” he added. “And then at the end, I’m like, of course, she did it. She’s badass. It’s a story of survival, and I think if she didn’t do it, it wouldn’t really look the way that it did in the book and make you feel some full circle semblance of ownership that she had.”
Taylor Swift wrote the original song “Carolina” for the movie, which plays during the credits. Taylor revealed how the “All Too Well” singer came up with the song during lockdown. “The movie without that song, I can’t picture it,” Taylor told HollywoodLife. “Now it’s like the perfect bookend into it.”
He continued, “The story about how it came to be is super cool, too. I guess Taylor read the book around the pandemic when everybody was dealing with isolation and kind of being on their own. It really inspired her, and she just decided to write the lyrics on a walk. She was in London on a walk one day and just wrote the lyrics as she was walking about, and then recorded all the instruments from that song by herself. They’re all instruments that predate the movie, so instruments that were around in the 1950s. So it’s like period-correct music making. And then she just sent it with this wonderful letter about how much it inspired her. To get a massive star… I mean, I don’t think it gets any bigger than that. For Taylor Swift to be inspired enough to write a song for your movie is so cool, right? She’s the first concert I ever went to when I was a kid at the Delaware State Fair.” Where The Crawdads Sing is now available on Blu-ray and Digital.