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Unknown James Hamrick Joins Atom Egoyan's West Memphis Three Drama 'Devil's Knot'; Joins Firth, Nivola, Enos, Witherspoon

Thompson on Hollywood By Sophia Savage | Thompson on Hollywood June 14, 2012 at 4:53PM

Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter") is directing "Devil's Knot," based on the true story of the West Memphis Three (Damien Wayne Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr.), who were recently released from Death Row and featured in both HBO's "Paradise Lost" doc trilogy (Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky) and Amy Berg's "West of Memphis."
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Damien Echols with "Paradise Lost" filmmakers Sinofsky and Berlinger
Damien Echols with "Paradise Lost" filmmakers Sinofsky and Berlinger

Canadian auteur Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter," "Chloe") is directing "Devil's Knot," based on the true story of the West Memphis Three, Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., who were recently released from Death Row after eighteen years in prison. Their long quest for justice was featured in both HBO's "Paradise Lost" doc trilogy (from directors Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky) and Amy Berg's investigative Sundance entry "West of Memphis," produced by Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh and Echols, which helped to break the case.

Egoyan has chosen a drama student from Wesleyan University, James Hamrick, to play Echols. Shooting starts later this month in Georgia, where Hamrick flew after submitting an audition tape.

Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson adapted journalist Mara Leveritt's book, "Devil's Knot." Produced by Worldview Entertainment, the film will also star Colin Firth as private detective Ron Lax, who helped the trio, and Alessandro Nivola as Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the boys who the Memphis Three were falsely convicted of killing. Lax uncovered evidence that linked Hobbs to the murders and led to the three's release. Rounding out the already impressive line-up are Reese Witherspoon and Mireille Enos ("The Killing") as well as Kristopher Higgins as Misskelley Jr.

Expect 2013 Oscar talk.

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