There are things that only Carolina knows...
Advertisement

It's a love story, baby just say yes.

Alas, those were not the words that director Olivia Newman and executive producer Reese Witherspoon said to Taylor Swift to convince her to write an original song for their feature film adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing.

In fact, the idea was entirely Swift's own. "We got a call that Taylor had been so inspired by the book and read the book, and she heard the movie was coming out, that when she was with her partners and they were writing the Folklore album, they wrote a song specifically for this movie," marvels Witherspoon. "It's so haunting. It's so beautiful. It's so accurate. We were just the benevolent receivers of this incredible artistic gift."

"It's really touching how much she's moved by that it was female authorship," adds Witherspoon, referring to Swift's appreciation of author Delia Owens and screenwriter Lucy Alibar. "And that she's so inspired by star Daisy Edgar-Jones, and by director Olivia Newman, and that this incredible group of women got together to make this timeless, classic, romantic film."

Indeed, Swift recounted this same origin story on her Instagram when the first trailer dropped back in March. ""Where The Crawdads Sing is a book I got absolutely lost in when I read it years ago," she wrote. "As soon as I heard there was a film in the works starring the incredible @daisyedgarjones and produced by the brilliant @reesewitherspoon, I knew I wanted to be a part of it from the musical side."

Newman marvels even further at the ways in which Swift's gothic approach to the songwriting matched her own instincts in terms of the story's likening to a fable, as well as Swift's commitment to period accuracy for the film's mid-century setting.

"She talked about how she wanted it to feel like this haunting, gothic, lullaby, and she used instruments that were only available before 1953, and she recorded it in all one take the way they recorded songs at the time," says Newman. "She really put so much thought into both the tonality of the song and the way in which she recorded it. It was so moving to me."

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING;
Daisy Edgar-Jones in 'Where The Crawdads Sing' and Taylor Swift
| Credit: Columbia Pictures; Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Swift sent Newman and the production team a letter, explaining her process and her vision for the song from the get-go. "Just reading her letter before I even heard the song was so moving," adds Newman. "Then I was in a mass of tears when the song ended. I don't know how she did it but she really captures the feeling that you have when the book ends. My hope was that if we could end the movie in a similar way, then the song would be the absolute perfect space to live in and absorb what you just witnessed."

Newman's hopes were met, as "Carolina" now concludes the film and runs over the end credits. The song could land Swift her first Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, a Carolina feather to add to her cap that includes a bevy of Grammys.

Where the Crawdads Sing hits theaters July 15.

Want more movie news? Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free newsletter to get the latest trailers, celebrity interviews, film reviews, and more.

Related content: