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Based on Mara Leveritt‘s nonfiction book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, the film delves into the brutal 1993 Arkansas murders of three 8-year-old boys for which Jessie Misskelley Jr., Damien Echols and Jason Baldwin were ultimately convicted. The ensuing legal fight to prove their innocence and obtain their freedom was first chronicled in Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s Paradise Lost documentaries. After 18 years of incarceration, the three men were finally released from prison in August.
Witherspoon would play the mother of one of the murder victims, a woman who at first is convinced of the trio’s guilt but ultimately begins to doubt it. Shooting is scheduled to being in the spring.
First developed at Dimension Films, the $20 million project is now being developed by Egoyan and producer Richard Saperstein. Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) wrote the screenplay, which Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter) has also been working on. Elizabeth Fowler and Clark Peterson are producing along with Saperstein and Boardman.
Repped by CAA and Management 360, Witherspoon will next star in the Fox actioner This Means War, which opens in February, and the indie drama Mud. She last starred in Water for Elephants.
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