Variety is reporting that Image Entertainment has scooped up the distribution rights to Atom Egoyan’s crime thriller Devil’s Knot. Image, a division of Maryland-based RLJ Entertainment, plans to release the film next year in the second quarter.
Worldview Entertainment’s dramatic crime thriller Devil’s Knot, filmed in the greater Atlanta, Georgia, area under the direction of Atom Egoyan, stars Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth with a screenplay by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson. Elizabeth Fowler, Richard Saperstein, and Clark Peterson produced Devil’s Knot alongside Worldview Entertainment CEO Christopher Woodrow. Worldview’s Molly Conners, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Maria Cestone, and Hoyt David Morgan executive produced alongside actual defendants Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley, Jr. Devil’s Knot is a Fowler-Saperstein-Peterson Production.
Following the release from prison of the West Memphis Three, after nearly 20 years of incarceration, Hollywood was abuzz with plans to develop the teen trio’s incredible story of wrongful conviction for the mutilation and murder of three young boys into a narrative feature. Among other works, it inspired the 2011 Oscar-nominated HBO documentary Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory. But tackling a complicated — and unsolved — murder mystery that spans nearly 20 years and includes a myriad of characters as a theatrical motion picture is an ambitious undertaking to say the least.
Still, Atom Egoyan was more inspired than intimidated by the story of the West Memphis Three, so the writer-director who has spun real life tragedy into compelling dramas with The Sweet Hereafter and Ararat began helming an adaptation of their story from a screenplay by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson as told by Mara Leveritt’s best-selling true crime book, Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three. His film, Devil’s Knot, stars Oscar winner for Walk the Line Reese Witherspoon as Pam Hobbs, the intrepid mother of murder victim Stevie Hobbs, and Oscar winner for The King’s Speech Colin Firth as private investigator Ron Lax, whose tireless efforts uncovered troubling details about the case ultimately led to the release of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., and Jason Baldwin after 18 years in prison.
Joining a star-studded cast that already included Witherspoon and Firth were Alessandro Nivola of Coco Before Chanel, Amy Ryan of Win Win, Matt Letscher of ABC’s “Scandal,” Michael Gladis of “Mad Men,” Stephen Moyer of HBO’s “True Blood,” Rex Linn of Appaloosa, and Bruce Greenwood of The Place Beyond the Pines. Letscher signed on to play Paul Ford, the defense attorney for Baldwin, while Gladis portrayed Dan Stidham, the defense attorney for Misskelley, and Greenwood was lined up to play the not-so-honorable Judge David Burnett, who oversaw the West Memphis Three’s trial and was later accused of bias that slanted the scales of justice against the accused. Amy Ryan plays Margaret Lax, Stephen Moyer plays John Fogelman, and Rex Linn plays Chief Inspector Gitchell. Garnering such noteworthy character actors for supporting roles was a great sign that Egoyan’s talent-stacked ensemble will be a heavy-hitter in the drama department.
Devil’s Knot boasts a creative team that includes producers Elizabeth Fowler, Richard Saperstein, Clark Peterson, and Christopher Woodrow; producer/writer Paul Harris Boardman; executive producer Molly Conners; and line producer/UPM Michael Flynn. Joining that above-the-line group are production designer Phillip Barker, art director Thomas Minton, set decorator Melinda Sanders, director of photography Paul Sarossy, costume designer Kari Perkins, editor Susan Shipton, composer/songwriter Mychael Danna, sound mixer Shirley Libby, special effects coordinator Lisa Reynolds, special effect make-up Bill “Splat” Johnson, and stunt coordinator Andy Martin.
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