INTERVIEW: Bill Kelly Talks About His Role in “Where the Crawdads Sing”
As soon as news came out that Taylor Swift would be doing an original song for the film adaptation of Where the Crawdads Sing, the already successful novel by Delia Owens saw a new life. Now, Swifties were on board, and that's a massive audience.
Owens' novel has sold 12 million copies as of January 2022, making it one of the best-selling novels of all time.
As of today, Where the Crawdads Sing is out in theaters. Directed by Olivia Newman (First Match) and written by Lucy Alibar (Beasts of the Southern Wild), the film revolves around a young woman, whose parents abandoned her. She lives deep in the North Carolina marshlands, harboring a love for the creatures of the swamp despite her illiteracy rendering her unable to capitalize on it. Eventually, however, she becomes wrapped up in a murder case involving a star college quarterback.
Actor Bill Kelly plays Sheriff Jackson, who discovers the body of quarterback Chase Andrews in the opening scene of the film. Kelly was kind enough to talk to me about how he got the role, why the story has connected with millions of readers, and his larger acting career.
Kelly worked in radio for 41 years before making the pivot to acting in 2011. Unlike most performers, he has no professional training as an actor. Since he made the career-change, he's landed a plethora of roles in TV and movies. Some of them include 24: Legacy, True Detective, The Wonder Years, and Bloodline. He also had a role in the Oscar-nominated Netflix drama Hillbilly Elegy two years ago.
For Where the Crawdads Sing, Kelly got the audition for the role of Sheriff Jackson when he was in the middle of reading the book. Even though he hadn't finished the novel yet, he knew he wanted the role. When he received the call letting him know he got the part, he was on the final chapter of the book. It was meant to be.
When I asked Kelly about what draws people to Owens' novel, he broke it down pretty succinctly:
The story itself is just incredible. It's a murder mystery with romance, intrigue, fortitude[....]I think it's one of those stories that just captivates people. The movie is incredible, I think it's a great adaptation.
Kelly went on to talk about the strong chemistry between the cast, and how much respect and admiration he has for Daisy Edgar-Jones, who plays Kya, the main character in the film.
Where the Crawdads Sing is now playing exclusively in theaters.
Listen to my full interview with Bill Kelly below!