Reese Witherspoon Movie Under Fire With Writer Wanted For Questioning In Murder

An upcoming Reese Witherspoon movie is coming under fire after the writer is wanted for questioning in a decades-old murder case.

By Dan Lawrence | Published

Reese witherspoon

Many things can trouble a film’s opening in theatres. A lead star caught in controversy, terrible reviews, the list goes on. However, it is seldom seen that a film’s release is marred when the author of the book that serves as its source material is wanted for questioning relating to a murder, but according to The Atlantic, that is exactly what is happening to the new Reese Witherspoon produced movie Where the Crawdads Sing.

The article written by The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg writes that the troubling scenario harks back to an ABC news-magazine show called Turning Point, that once upon a time in the mid-nineties featured a documentary dubbed Deadly Game: The Mark and Delia Owens Story. The documentary focuses on Mark and Delia Owens and their son Christopher’s activities in the African nation of Zambia. The Owens family spent their time in the country attempting to save elephants from local poachers. The premise sounds good-natured, but disturbingly the ABC documentary captures on film the fatal shooting of an alleged poacher. Now decades later and days prior to the Reese Witherspoon-backed film adaptation of Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing on July 15, Zambia’s director of public prosecutions, Lillian Shawa-Siyuni has stated that Mark, Delia, and Christopher Owens are: “all wanted for questioning in this case, including Delia Owens.”

Where the Crawdads Sing, has had over twelve million copies sold worldwide since its publication in 2018. The film adaptation has the aforementioned star actress and Hollywood businesswoman Reese Witherspoon attached as a producer, Olivia Newman as a director, and stars Daisy Edgar-Jones (Freshin the lead role of Kya, a reclusive girl living in the marshlands of North Carolina who becomes a suspect in a murder investigation. It is an ironic premise given the situation that Delia Ownes now finds herself in. According to The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, his findings when looking into the troubling affairs in Zambia in the mid-nineties uncovered some alarming claims, which he published in an article titled The Hunted, written for The New Yorker. That article cites an interview with an ABC cameraman who filmed the shooting of the alleged poacher, and they claimed it was Delia’s son Christopher who took the shot. However, investigations at the time faltered as a body (which was apparently disposed of) was never found.

More frightening claims come out of The Atlantic article, stating that the Owens’ treated local scouts in an abusive manner, and essentially ran an anti-poacher militia whilst in Zambia. However, if you ask Delia Owens about the sorry scenario, the author of course denies knowledge of any such events, especially the televised killing of the alleged poacher, telling Jeffrey Goldberg; “We don’t know anything about it.” Given that decades after the incident Zambian authorities want to question the Owens family in connection to the incident and the amount of evidence that Goldberg has managed to gather, things do not look positive for the best-selling author and again, it is not the type of publicity Reese Witherspoon will want to surround her new film. Considering The Hollywood Reporter writes; “Where the Crawdads Sing is the kind of tedious moral fantasy that fuels America’s misguided idealism,” perhaps more poor reviews will stifle the film’s flame before controversy can.