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Reese Witherspoon Joins Atom Egoyan's West Memphis Three Drama 'Devil's Knot'

by Kevin Jagernauth
December 15, 2011 10:23 PM
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The saga of the West Memphis Three is far from over. "Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory" hits HBO next month and the Peter Jackson-produced documentary "West Of Memphis" will make its premiere at Sundance in January. Their story will still very much be in the public eye for the next while, and now, the West Memphis Three will be getting the big screen movie treat courtesy of Atom Egoyan.

First announced back in the summer, the feature film will take a different tack than the documentaries, getting out of the courtroom and taking a look at how the murder impacted the lives of those in the community. Kicking off the casting, Deadline reports that Reese Witherspoon is the first to join the pic, which will find her playing Pam Hobbs, one of the mothers of the victims who eventually becomes convinced that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr have been wrongly convicted.

The film is based on the book “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three” and has been in development since 2006, with "The Exorcism Of Emily Rose" writers Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (which has subsequently been rewritten by Egoyan and Boardman), and the production has landed the life rights to many people involved in the case. However, it does not have rights the West Memphis Three boys themselves, so it will be interesting to see how this is approached. Back in August, the film was said to be reaching for something tonally similar to "The Sweet Hereafter."

The film is moving ahead with a summer shoot in mind and with Witherspoon on board, this seems to be pointing toward to a starrier cast than we were anticipating. It's certainly the most intersting role the actress has taken on in a long time, and we'll be curious to see what Egoyan's stamp is on the material. For now, check out the two news reports to get a flavor of what accent Witherspoon will be working on for the next few months.

Pamela Hobbs, Mother of West Memphis Murder Victim, Talks About Recent Supreme Court Ruling:

WM3 Victim’s Mother Prepares for New Hearing:

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  • West Memphis Three Truth | December 16, 2011 1:26 AMReply

    Many people believe the WM3 were guilty as charged. They were found guilty by a unanimous jury the first time. They plead guilty instead of waiting for a trial the second time.

    All of this is from court records or articles.

    Misskelley confessed three separate times, once with his lawyer present. Misskelley also told two other people about the crime before he was arrested. Baldwin told someone else he committed the crimes. Echols was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene. He bragged about the murder to two other teenagers, stating he killed the three boys. Echols is reported to have either told or bragged about the crime to four people before he was arrested.

    Echols also had a history of psychiatric treatment. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood. He talked about getting his girlfriend pregnant, then using the baby as a human sacrifice. He claimed to be possessed by a spirit and to converse with demons. (from exhibit 500 court documents)

    see wm3truth (dot) com for more information

  • Cyndee | February 17, 2012 4:15 PM

    If there wasn't sufficient reason to offer a plea deal, the three men accused would not have walked out of prison after serving 18 years, one on death row. It's been hashed and rehashed over the years and the coerced confession of a teenager who was promised alcohol, sex, reward money and immunity by the prosecuting team and police if he confessed has exposed the utter shame and contempt of people who will do anything to get a case closed. Even the parents of two of the victims do not believe these three are responsible so its laughable that a gaggle of people hiding behind their computers , calling themselves "the truth" spend every waking moment pouring over court documents deem themselves experts. Four documentaries, numerous books and celebrity support speak volumes for the truth. Thank you for making another film to keep the awareness alive in order to exonerate these three young men. Go to wm3 (dot) org for more info and how you can help!

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