Almost the moment the West Memphis 3 got out of prison, it was announced that Atom Egoyan was plotting a movie about the infamous case. Now things have moved forward as Variety reports actress Reese Witherspoon has joined the cast of Devil’s Knot, marking the first piece of what promises to be a large casting puzzle. After the case became a bit of a cause celebre in Hollywood, it’ll be interesting to see if the films ends up with an all-star line-up.
Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of a West Memphis 3 murder victim, who initially believes three young men committed the crime, but eventually is persuaded that they are innocent. In case you don’t know, the West Memphis 3 were convicted of the murder of three young boys in Arkansas in the mid 90s.
However even before they were convicted there were accusations of the investigation being bungled and the men being railroaded. The youths were accused of murdering the boys in a Satanic ritual, with many supecting they had just been caught up in a panic over Satanism that was sweeping the US (and other parts of the world) at the time, with the evidence made to fit what the prosecutors wanted it to, rather than what it did. After years of campaigning, high-profile documentaries (particularly Paradise Lost and its sequel, which had a huge impact on the case), the three men were finally released – although it should be noted that it was part of a plea deal and they weren’t exonerated.
Atom Egoyan is directing from a screenplay by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson, which is adapted from Mara Leveritt’s 2003 non-fiction book. The project is seeking independent financing, with production slated to begin this coming summer.
General movie news courtesy of Movie Muser