The case of the West Memphis Three has fascinated the country for nearly two decades and it’s no surprise that Hollywood is looking to churn out a dramatized version of the events. Back in December, we got word that Reese Witherspoon was attached to director Atom Egoyan’s (Chloe) long-time project to adapt Mara Leveritt‘s novel Devil’s Knot which centers on the controversial case.
For those of you unfamiliar with the West Memphis Three, they were three ostracized teenagers – Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley- who were convicted of the 1993 murders of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas despite widespread criticism of how the police handled the crime investigation as well as lack of solid evidences. Their guilt has been questioned ever since, with numerous documentaries, such as Paradise Lost, being strongly critical of the verdict.
Deadline now reports that Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth will take on the role of Ron Lax, the private investigator whose pro-bono detective work strongly contributed to the release of the three men in August 2011. In an incredible development, Lax found DNA evidence that linked Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims, to the murder scene. Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the victims who is initially convinced of the teenagers’ guilt, but soon begins to have doubts that they are the real perpetrators of the heinous crime.
The amount of talent involved in this dramatization of the West Memphis Three plight is certainly appealing. However, one has to wonder what Egoyan has to add to such a highly publicized case. Expect more casting news down the road. Filming isn’t scheduled to start shooting until next summer in Lousiana.
Any thoughts? Are you familiar/interested with the West Memphis Three case?