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Atom Egoyan's West Memphis Three pic Devil's Knot adds Colin Firth

02.02.2012

Director Atom Egoyan (CHLOE, THE SWEET HEREAFTER) has cast Colin Firth and Reese Witherspoon in his dramatic film DEVIL'S KNOT, which is yet another chronicle of the plight of the West Memphis Three.

If you're unfamiliar with the case, it involves the drama surrounding three teenagers accused and convicted of the murder of three 8-year-old boys in Arkansas and the resulting legal snafu's that have all but cleared the teenagers of the murders. Their story has been told many times over in the PARADISE LOST documentaries and the upcoming WEST OF MEMPHIS.

Based on the 2003 book by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, the film is being scripted by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (THE EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE) and is currently undergoing a rewrite before going before the camera.

Here's the description from Deadline:

Firth will play Ron Lax, a private investigator who was the first pro bono supporter of the defendents as they headed to trial in 1993. Lax built one of the most prominent private investigative firms in the Southeast, and offered his services for free to the defendants, who at the time were reviled because of the heinous nature of the crime and the sensationalized reports about devil worship and ritualistic sacrifice.

All of that was later proven to be unfounded, after Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley were convicted despite not a shred of physical evidence. Lax was an unsung hero and helped find the DNA in the knots that bound one of the victims, that cast suspicion on Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of Steven Branch, one of the 8-year old murdered boys. Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of Branch. She initially believed the trio murdered her son, is eventually persuaded that the three suspects are innocent and wrongly accused. Filming begins next summer in Louisiana, and other big names are expected to join the cast in smaller roles.

Although it may seem like we've had enough of this story being documented and/or retold, I find it immensely fascinating. When I first saw the first documentary years ago I believed the teenagers to be guilty. As time marched on and the evidence began to unravel, I came to believe otherwise. It's an amazing case, because of the coverage it's been given and instigates discussion on a wide variety of topics, including the failure of the justice system and the roles of law enforcement during a criminal investigation.

I'm absolutely interested to see more. What about you?

Extra Tidbit: I've never seen The Sweet Hereafter. Thoughts on it from the Schmoes?
Source: Deadline

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