From The Telegraph: Colin Firth is to star in a film based on the true-life story of the West Memphis Three, one of the most notorious ‘miscarriage of justice’ cases in US history.
The film, Devil’s Knot, will dramatise the case of Jessie Misskelley, Jason Baldwin and Damien Echols, who were convicted as teenagers of murdering three eight-year-old boys in 1993.
The victims’ bodies were found naked and bound with shoestrings in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Echols was sentenced to death and his fellow defendants to life imprisonment.
But after 18 years in prison, the three men were released in August 2011 in an unusual deal which allowed them to assert their innocence while agreeing prosecutors had enough evidence to convict them.
Firth will play Ron Lax, an investigative journalist who spent years fighting to prove the men’s innocence and uncovered vital DNA evidence. Reese Witherspoon will co-star as the mother of one of the victims.
Details of the film, to be distributed by The Weinstein Co, were unveiled in Cannes. Filming begins in Georgia next month and the producers said: “We believe this story needs to be told on screen, and we couldn’t ask for a higher calibre of talent to do so.”
Two of the men, Misskelley and Baldwin, will be executive producers on the Hollywood project. Misskelley initially confessed to the murders but later recanted.
While the man were campaigning to be freed, the case attracted celebrity supporters including Johnny Depp.
The new film is likely to upset some relatives of the victims. When a documentary about the case was nominated for an Oscar, family members petitioned the Academy to ignore it and said the freed men were “travelling the globe and partying with rock stars” while the victims lay “dead in their graves”.