The actor spoke to us about bringing the much-loved book to life—and finally impressing his sisters.
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"Where The Crawdads Sing" New York Premiere Taylor John Smith
Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

Where the Crawdads Sing was so popular when Taylor John Smith was preparing to audition for the movie adaptation that he couldn't get his hands on a physical copy.

So, the 27-year-old did what any of us would do. He bought the audio version of Delia Owens' bestselling novel. 

"I listened to it at 1.5x speed," Smith tells Southern Living. "I was actually on a plane when I finished it and I was so emotionally distraught that a flight attendant came over to check on me! I explained that I had just finished Where the Crawdads Sing and she was like, 'I get it.'"

Smith has been acting for more than a decade, but he says that being cast as Tate Walker was one of the first times his two sisters actually took a "vested interest" in what he was doing.

His sisters, like the flight attendant and millions of others, read and loved the book. In fact, Smith says his siblings had the same question when they learned he'd be appearing in the film: Chase or Tate?

"Oh, thank God," they each replied, openly relieved that their brother would be playing the sweet fisherman's son and not the loathsome quarterback. 

Smith acknowledges the immense pressure that comes with bringing a well-known literary character to life. Fortunately, he says that pressure "dissipated" once the cameras started rolling. And being in the hands of producer Reese Witherspoon certainly helped too. 

In the end, he's 1,000 percent confident that fans of the book will be happy with the movie. 

"The film is such a loyal adaptation to the book," he says. "It's exactly how I imagined it to be. As soon as the opening credits roll you're like, 'Oh my god!' I can't wait for people to see it."

Where the Crawdads Sing is in theaters July 15.