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 »

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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 »

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