WM3’s Baldwin and Misskelley Overseeing Devil’s Knot


There’s been a lot of talk about the West Memphis 3 since their release from prison last August, between the Oscar nomination for Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory and with Amy Berg’s West of Memphis (produced by Peter Jackson) premiering at Sundance earlier this year. All these factors have helped director Atom Egoyan move forward on Devil’s Knot, a drama based on the trials and tribulations of the three Arkansas teenagers accused and imprisoned for the murder of three 8-year-old boys without enough evidence and proof of their guilt. They spent 18 years in prison while celebrities and other supporters desperately tried to find evidence of another possible perpetrator in order to get them released.

Based on the novel by Mara Leveritt, Devil’s Knot follows a private detective named Ron Lax, played by Colin Firth, who took on the case of the West Memphis Three pro bono and found evidence linking Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the three murdered boys, to the crime scene, which helped convince the judge to release the three accused defendants after nearly 18 years in prison. They were released under the Alford Plea, in which they plead guilty in exchange for release based on time served.

Firth joined the previously announced casting of Reese Witherspoon last month and since then, members of the actual West Memphis Three have come on board as executive producers with Jason Baldwin (right) and his longtime supporter/girlfriend Holly Ballard announced last week on The Wrap, and the third
defendant Jessie Misskelley Jr. (left) joining them this week as a consulting producer, according to Variety.

Also last week, Johnny Depp and his producing partner Christi Dembrowski optioned the film rights to the third member Damien Echols’ upcoming untitled memoir through their company Infinitum Nihil (Deadline), which could potentially be a competing film. Echols and his wife Lorri Davis served as executive producers on Berg’s documentary, which will be released by Sony Pictures Classics later this year, but there’s no word whether they’ll be taking on a similar role with either of the planned dramatic films.

(Photo source: Ivan Nikolov/WENN.com)