West Memphis Three Feature Film Already In The Works From Atom Egoyan
It's pretty common for big news to hit and for Hollywood to be ready with a movie to capitalize on it in no time-- think all the Navy SEAL movies that emerged after a team of them assassinated Osama bin Laden, or the interest Brad Pitt's Plan B productions showed in a movie about the trappe Chilean miners. But the news at Deadline seems to suggest the fastest turnaround time ever for one of these stories: just hours after the "West Memphis Three" were freed from prison this morning, director Atom Egoyan already has a feature planned about it.
Except, much like Kathryn Bigelow's well-timed Kill Bin Laden, Egoyan has been working on this movie for weeks, and in fact, the screenplay has been in development since 2006. Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman first began adapting the 2003 book Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, which focused on the three teenagers convicted for killing three eight-year-old boys in what was painted a some kind of Satanic ritual. As widely investigated over the years and portrayed in two documentaries, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders At Robin Hood Hills and Paradise Lost 2: Revelations, many believed the three to be innocent and unfairly targeted for being outsiders in the small town of West Memphis, Arkansas. The three had a number of celebrity supporters including Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder, and even a website devoted to proving their innocence.
The documentarians behind the two Paradise Lost films have already shot a third, Paradise Lost: Purgatory, which is still scheduled to premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in a few weeks with a newly shot, triumphant ending. Presumably Egoyan's film, which is budgeted at $20 million and set to start shooting in the spring, would cover much of the same territory, but benefit both from fictional license and Egoyan's specific skills as a director. The movie, titled Devil's Knot, is an independent production for now, but might set up a distribution deal soon thanks to the new attention to the West Memphis Three case. (Photo above via).
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