• Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Where the Crawdads Sing 's Daisy Edgar-Jones Gushes Over Reese Witherspoon, Eating Shrimp and Grits

·4 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Daisy Edgar-Jones launched into the spotlight with the early pandemic hit series Normal People. She's gone to star in the thriller Fresh and now leads the big screen adaptation of Delia Owens' bestseller Where the Crawdads Sing. Still, Edgar-Jones, 24, isn't accustomed to all of the attention.

"I'm not used to getting my photo taken," the British actress tells PEOPLE in this week's issue.

For more Daisy Edgar-Jones, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands now, or subscribe here.

To be fair, the height of Edgar-Jones's fame so far has taken place during the pandemic, when she could really only gauge her projects' popularity online. "When the show initially came out, the sort of oddness of that was mixed up in the oddness of going out," she says of Normal People, the BBC's most-streamed series of 2020. "But it's really lovely to hear how much that show meant to certain people during that time."

Daisy Edgar-Jones
Daisy Edgar-Jones

Courtesy of Sony Pictures Daisy Edgar-Jones in Where the Crawdads Sing (2022)

Edgar-Jones landed her role as Crawdads' Kya, a loner who grows up on the North Carolina marsh in the 1950s, via Zoom. "I got a call from my agents and they were like, 'Oh my gosh, this is huge,'" Edgar-Jones, who also starred in FX's Under the Banner of Heaven this year, recalls. "I had a Zoom audition, and I had not had one of those so it was sort of surreal. I was auditioning with [director] Livy [Newman], but she was on my laptop screen, balanced on a load of pillows."

RELATED: Daisy Edgar Jones 'Loves' Normal People Co-Star Paul Mescal's Mustache: He 'Can Pull Off Anything' 

Despite the makeshift setup, Edgar-Jones got the job because Owens thought she embodied Kya. "They sent me Daisy Edgar-Jones doing the audition and I couldn't believe it. I was seeing Kya." Owens, 73, says. "Then when I met her, there was Kya. She's perfect."

Edgar-Jones headed to Louisiana to film and met executive producer Reese Witherspoon, who named Owens' debut novel as her September 2018 book club pick. "I've been a huge fan of hers since I was little," Edgar-Jones gushes of Witherspoon, 46. "To meet her and work with her was such a dream come true."

Daisy Edgar-Jones and Reese Witherspoon attend "Where The Crawdads Sing" Photo Call
Daisy Edgar-Jones and Reese Witherspoon attend "Where The Crawdads Sing" Photo Call

Jon Kopaloff/WireImage

Edgar-Jones enjoyed the challenge of swapping her British accent for a Southern twang (she employed a dialect coach for help) and exploring the American South for the first time. "It was incredible to see this Spanish Moss and hear the cicadas and dragonflies everywhere. I'd never been in an environment like that," she says. "And I would have shrimp and grits quite a lot for dinner, which I really liked."

Similar to her Crawdads character, who collects feathers and writes nonfiction books about the marsh's shells, Edgar-Jones has always felt a kinship with nature. "I was an only child, so I spent a lot of time on my own playing outside. That really taught me to of use my imagination, because I would create these big imaginary worlds," Edgar-Jones, the daughter of TV editor Wendy and Big Brother creative director Philip, says. "That was a real gift."

RELATED VIDEO: How Normal People Pulled Off Those "Incredibly Intimate" Scenes with Stars Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jones

Edgar-Jones considers the beach back home in Kent her favorite place. "It's a bit pebbly, so it's not the most relaxing to lie down on, but I love it," she says.

She also liked acting as a kid. "I was quite shy I guess, so acting was a chance to be able to slightly depart from myself and do things that me myself would be too shy to do, as a character," Edgar-Jones says.

Screen shot of scene from Where the Craw Dads Sing-Taylor John Smith, Daisy Edgar-Jones
Screen shot of scene from Where the Craw Dads Sing-Taylor John Smith, Daisy Edgar-Jones

Courtesy of Sony Pictures

She played Anne Boleyn in a school play at age 7 and gave her first professional audition at 15. That led to parts in BBC sitcom Outnumbered and ITV's Cold Feet, and eventually, her breakout role opposite Paul Mescal in the steamy drama based on Sally Rooney's 2018 romance novel.

RELATED: Normal People Stars Daisy Edgar-Jones and Paul Mescal Reunite in NYC

Edgar-Jones loves that everyone will be able to watch her latest project on the big screen. "It's a murder mystery. It's a love story. It's a survival story. It the kind of movie I would love to go and see with my friends and I'm just really chuffed that it's getting a cinema release," Edgar-Jones says of Crawdads.

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free weekly newsletter to get the biggest news of the week delivered to your inbox every Friday.

Going forward, Edgar-Jones wants to "work with filmmakers that challenge me" — she adores Wes Anderson, Greta Gerwig and Quentin Tarantino. But she doesn't want to get too caught up in the process: "If you're too worried about the outcome, you won't be free to make bold choices."

Where the Crawdads Sing is in theaters now.