With the West Memphis Three out of prison, there seems to be no shortage of interest in telling their stories. HBO recently premiered the third installment of the compelling Paradise Lost documentary trilogy, and the Amy Berg directed (Peter Jackson produced) documentary West of Memphis made it’s premiere at this year’s Sundance film festival.
The mystery of the murders of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas is unsolved, and it will stay that way until the person or people responsible for their deaths are brought to justice. But three men, who were just teenagers when the crimes were committed, spent eighteen years and seventy-eight days in prison before being released last year after new DNA evidence produced led to a deal that resulted in their release. Given how widely publicized the story was, especially after the original Paradise Lost film debuted, it’s understandable that there’s more interest than ever to understand what happened to lead to the three wrongful convictions, and speculate over what really happened to those children.
While West of Memphis and Paradise Lost: Purgatory take the documentary approach in telling the story, the upcoming Atom Egoyan directed Devil’s Knot will be a dramatic take on the tale, based on the book by Mara Leveritt. Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth are attached to star. And now it looks like at some point down the line we’ll be seeing a film based on the memoirs of Damien Echols.
?According to Deadline, Johnny Depp and his producing partner Christi Dembrowski, under their production company Infinitum Nihil, have optioned the film rights to the currently untitled, yet-to-be-published memoirs of Echols, who was eighteen at the time of his arrest and was sentenced to death row.
Deadline says Depp and his producing partner have been waiting for an opportunity to explore the story and from the sound of it, their plan is to focus on the conviction and imprisonment of Echols, and “present his life before conviction as well its twists and turns leading to release.”
It certainly sounds like an interesting endeavor, though we’ll be waiting a while for it as Echols’ book isn’t expected to be published until September of this year.