Even after the three men were freed last year, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin, aka the West Memphis Three, remain figures of intense interest. There are four major documentaries about the murder case that saw the three young men sentenced to death (Echols) and life in prison (Misskelley and Baldwin) for the murders of three boys. There has long been a strong argument for the innocence of the Three, and there is nothing quite so compelling as a story of failed justice.
Atom Egoyan, director of The Sweet Hereafter and Chloe, is making Devil’s Knot, a piece of fiction inspired by the case. The cast features a mixture of well-known names (Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Amy Ryan) and newcomers and lesser-known actors such as James Hamrick, Kristopher Higgins, and Justin Castor who play Echols, Misskelley, and Baldwin.
Now Egoyan has talked about what his film will be, and how he sees the case. Read More »
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If I needed to I could come up with two films more different than Kathryn Bigelow‘s “kill Osama Bin Laden” movie Zero Dark Thirty and Atom Egoyan‘s West Memphis Three drama Devil’s Knot. But for the sake of argument let’s note that despite being fiction based in truth, they’re still pretty seriously different projects.Both films do have one other thing in common, in that they will rely on relative unknowns for pivotal roles.
First, Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, which recounts the successful attempt to kill Osama Bin Laden, will actually feature an actor as the terrorist figurehead — something we weren’t sure about at one point. Ricky Sekhon, a British actor with some TV experience, will play the part. He’s already shot the role, according to Baz Bamigoye.
The film is still shooting, however, with a December 19th opening planned. The cast also features Chris Pratt, Kyle Chandler, Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle, Joel Edgerton, Nash Edgerton, Frank Grillo, Harold Perrineau Jr., Mark Duplass, Jason Clarke, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez , and more.
After the break, Atom Egoyan has chosen a newcomer to play Damien Echols, one of the convicted West Memphis Three. Read More »
Tell me if you had a similar experience. Every year when I was a kid my father would wait until I was having the most fun during Memorial Day weekend – I’d either be mid-chomp on a hot dog or about to leap off a diving board – when he’d remind me that, “this weekend isn’t just about having fun, it’s about honoring the dead!”
He was right, of course, and this no doubt could inspire me to guilt you into watching more movies about brave soldiers dying so you can enjoy your freedoms. I thought, however, I’d widen the margin and use this week’s TBMYPHS to discuss cinematic portrayals of grieving.
There, I’ve done it – I’ve out-downered my own father. Have a gloomy, depressing weekend, everyone! Read More »
The star power that came out in defense of the West Memphis Three was remarkable and now there’s added juice behind an eventual dramatic film version. Oscar-winner Colin Firth has just joined previously cast Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon in Devil’s Knot, the first narrative feature (after several documentaries) concerning the complicated yet fascinating subject of the West Memphis Three. It’ll be directed by Atom Egoyan and is based on the non-fiction book by Mara Leveritt.
Firth will play Ron Lax, a private investigator who was instrumental in finding key evidence that raised considerable doubt as to the guilt of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley. Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of victim Steven Branch and the wife of the man believed to have committed the crimes. There’s more after the jump. Read More »
Posted on Friday, December 16th, 2011 by Angie Han
Months after we first heard of Atom Egoyan‘s planned feature about the West Memphis Three, the project has found its first star. Reese Witherspoon has boarded The Devil’s Knot, based on reporter Mara Leveritt‘s 2003 nonfiction book which chronicled the 1994 trials that put two teenagers in prison for life and another on death row for the murder of three eight-year-old boys, despite a lack of physical evidence. After years of appeals, the three men were finally freed this summer. More details after the jump.
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Last week saw the dramatic end to the story of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., aka the West Memphis Three. The trio were the subject of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky‘s documentary Paradise Lost in 1996. That film told of how the three young men had been tried and convicted for the murders of three 8-year old boys in 1993, despite a lack of any physical evidence. (The three were convicted in part because of supposed Satanist leanings and interests in metal and the occult.) The fact that the three are free is wonderful, but that freedom was obtained not through exoneration, but by pleading guilty to the murders and being released with time served for the 18 years each has spent in prison. It’s hardly justice.
Berlinger and Sinofsky were almost finished with their third documentary about the case, and are talking about how the end of the case will be reflected in their film. And Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan has announced his plan to make a dramatic feature based on the case. Finally, Peter Jackson, who along with Fran Walsh, Eddie Vedder, Johhny Depp and others contributed to the WM3′s defense fund, has responded to the end of the case. Read More »
For the past few years the Bell Lightbox has been under construction just on the north edge of downtown Toronto. The center is meant to be the new headquarters of the Toronto International Film Festival, and it finally opens this year, on September 12.
In addition to the annual festival, which opens September 9, the center will open with a free exhibit called Essential Cinema, which will be complemented by a collection of new short films. Among the directors involved are festival favorites Atom Egoyan and Guy Maddin. Read More »
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The latest, definitely NSFW trailer for Atom Egoyan‘s Chloe comes from France where they’re reputedly a lot happier about nudity and ‘sensuality’ than in the US. You can see for yourself after the break. It will probably leave you with the impression that the French are quite happy about women kissing each other too. I wonder if they’ll be happy with this remake of one of their local hits, Nathalie… which starred Emanuelle Beart, Gerard Depardieu and Fanny Ardant in the Amanda Seyfried, Liam Neeson and Julianne Moore roles respectively.
I’m a longtime fan of Egoyan’s, since Family Viewing knocked me upside the head half a lifetime ago. He’s an ace with tense and unnerving thrillers about fraught relationship tangles, so I expect to find that he absolutely nailed this one to the post.
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