TV & Movies

Where Was Where The Crawdads Sing Filmed?

The lush adaptation of Delia Owens’ bestselling novel is now in theaters.

Daisy Edgar-Jones in the verdant landscape of 'Where the Crawdads Sing.'
Sony Pictures

The North Carolina marsh in Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing isn’t merely the background for the novel’s murder mystery plot — it’s a character all its own. Owens makes sure that, like her protagonist Kya, her readers are as enchanted with the landscape: “Marsh is not swamp,” she writes. “Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky. Slow-moving creeks wander, carrying the orb of the sun with them to the sea, and long-legged birds lift with unexpected grace — as though not built to fly — against the roar of a thousand snow geese.”

It was important that the new film adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing, which stars Daisy Edgar-Jones as marsh-dweller Kya, capture the physical beauty and magic of the marsh. The film’s creative team — which includes director Olivia Newman, producer Reese Witherspoon, and production designer Sue Chan — also had to recreate the look and feel of small-town ‘60s North Carolina, which they accomplished through hard work (and in spite of bad weather) once they were on set. When in doubt, they referred back to Owens’ novel as a reference point. As Witherspoon told Vanity Fair, “Delia Owens wrote this book with such authenticity, you could just tell she really grew up in this place. She really appreciated the nature around her. The book is a love letter to growing up in the South, which for me really resonated because I grew up in New Orleans and Nashville.”

Read more to discover where Where the Crawdads Sing was filmed.

Where was Where the Crawdads Sing filmed?

Where the Crawdads Sing wasn’t filmed in North Carolina, but rather in New Orleans’ North Shore marshlands and the small city of Houma, Louisiana. According to Vanity Fair, the movie shot in New Orleans from April to July, 2021, and was repeatedly delayed by thunderstorms, floods, and heat. The mosquitoes that reside in Louisiana’s marshes also went after the cast and crew. But as annoying as all those mosquito bites were, Newman explained, “There was also something magical in it, because that’s also Kya’s story. It made us more connected to the material… [because] this is a story about a young woman who learns how to deal with the elements of her environment.”

Houma, meanwhile, stood in for the fictional town of Barkley Cove. Chan and her team transformed several streets in the city — which is located around an hour west of New Orleans and is home to approximately 33,000 residents — into something straight of the 1960s. Linsi Cenac Matherne, the owner of a shop that had its storefront temporarily transformed, spoke admiringly to Houma Today about the production team. “To see them quickly make changes … it’s really one of those kind of fly-by-the-seat-of-their-pants things, like with the weather and with so many people,” she said. “It’s pretty amazing to watch.”

Many Houma locals were excited by the production, and at the prospect of their town being memorialized on film. “I want to do a whole viewing party. The manager of the store and I were talking yesterday. We want to get some of the big, like, Hollywood lights out in front of the store and maybe do a blow-up projection screen and an outdoors kind of thing,” Lauren Rebstock, another local business owner, told Houma Today. “It’s really great just knowing that their community was part of something that's gonna stand the test of time like a movie.” Eight-year-old Emmalyn Pellegrin also enjoyed the experience, but for different reasons: “It’s cool,” she said, after watching the crew shoot a scene. “I want to be in a movie one day.”