And the star power keeps amping up for director Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, based on the events surrounding the recently freed West Memphis Three, as both Amy Ryan (Gone Baby Gone, “The Wire”) and Dane DeHaan (Chronicle, “True Blood”) are in early talks for roles.
Per Variety these two deals are in the early stages since DeHaan is getting married this summer and his shooting dates still have to be finalized, as do Ryan’s. If cast, Ryan would play private detective Ron Lax’s soon-to-be ex-wife, and DeHaan would play a teen who had some history with the three murdered boys.
Colin Firth, Mireille Enos, Reese Witherspoon, Collette Wolfe, Kristopher Higgins, Alessandro Nivola, and Kris Polaha all star in the drama about the West Memphis 3 based on journalist Mara Leveritt’s bestselling book of the same name.
Firth will play Ron Lax, a private investigator who was the first pro bono supporter of the defendants as they headed to trial in 1993. Lax built one of the most prominent private investigative firms in the Southeast and offered his services for free to the defendants, who at the time were reviled because of the heinous nature of the crime and the sensationalized reports about devil worship and ritualistic sacrifice. All of that was later proven to be unfounded, after the West Memphis 3 were convicted despite a total absence of physical evidence. Witherspoon is playing Pam Hobbs, the mother of Steven Branch, one of the victims. She initially believed the trio murdered her son and the other two boys but became persuaded they were wrongly accused. An upcoming documentary casts suspicion on her ex-husband Terry Hobbs (Nivola), who was Steven Branch’s stepfather and who has denied any wrongdoing.
Enos will play Vicki Hutcheson, the mother of an 8-year-old boy who lives in a run-down house in West Memphis. She becomes an important witness in the murder trial of Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. (Higgins), for the killing of three 8-year-old boys found hog-tied in a drainage ditch. Hutcheson, it becomes apparent to investigators, could be the only link between Echols and Misskelley. Polaha will play public defender Val Price, Wolfe will serve as Lax’s assistant, Glori Shettles.
In August 2011 the defendants were released due to lack of evidence after spending 18 years in prison. Actual defendants Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin are executive producing Devil’s Knot with Worldview’s Molly Conners, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Maria Cestone, and Hoyt David Morgan. Producers are Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson, Richard Saperstein, and Worldview CEO Christopher Woodrow.
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