Colin Firth has joined the cast of the theatrical adaptation of The Devil’s Knot, Deadline reports. Firth will star opposite to Reese Witherspoon in this narrative take on the West Memphis Three; A real life crime story about the savage murders of three eight year old children in 1993, the investigation that proceeded it and the subsequent trials.
Director Atom Egoyan’s take for The Devil’s Knot will be based on Mara Leveritt’s 2002 True Crime book, “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three.” Leveritt is a award-winning journalist that provides the most comprehensive look yet into this shocking case about the three teens; Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelly; who were charged with and convicted of the crimes of murder. These three would later be known in the media fray as the West Memphis Three (WM3).
The instinctive reaction from society is to identify strangers and monsters that are not a part of the community. To identify someone who does not fit in and examine them closely. In this instance, it was Damien Echols, a goth teenager with all the trappings of anti-social nonconformist. The perfect target to blame.
Weeks after the murders, the police officially announced that three teens had been arrested and were accused of committing the murders as part of a satanic cult ritual. The book revolves one central idea that the WM3 were convicted due to a “Satanic panic” rather than real actual evidence caused by the police. All which caused media frenzy and witch-hunt like atmosphere to surround the trails. The book also focuses on one of the victim’s stepfathers and his possible connection with the murders.
The original trial was the subject of a documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky called Paradise Lost. This film called national media attention to the trail and its outcome which raised concerns about the lack of evidence. Fighting for the release for the WM3, a second film, Paradise Lost 2: Revelations was produced. Following the release of all three teenagers on August 19, 2011 after serving 18 years in prison, a third film, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory follows the details of WM3’s release. The third film is currently touring film festivals.
Firth will star as Ron Lax, a private investigator called in for the case who lends his services to Damien Echols and goes on to uncover details surrounding the arrests and trials. Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the original victims.
Imagine if you will of being convicted of a crime because of your musical tastes, clothing, religious preferences or simply because of the way you dress.
This is a disturbing case that will leave you feeling sick and shake your belief in justice. In itself is a horror story that anyone is vulnerable to the whims of hysteria and the ignorance of a fear fed population. Freedom can go at the price of being “different.”
“It had to be someone who is not one of us. Someone who does not believe in God.”