Deadline are now reporting that the brilliant actress is the first to be cast in Devil’s Knot, which has Atom Egoyan (The Sweet Hereafter, Chloe) at its helm. The original script, based on Mara Leveritt’s book Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, was written by Paul Harris Boardman and Scott Derrickson, who co-wrote The Exorcism of Emily Rose.
The West Memphis Three were convicted as teenagers in real life in 1994 of killing three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Since then, three documentaries have been made about the case, Paradise Lost, Paradise Lost 2, and the upcoming Paradise Lost 3, positioned against the initial verdict, which convicted the three to life imprisonment, and sentencing one of them to death.
In August this year, the West Memphis Three were released after serving more than eighteen years in prison following the entry of new forensic evidence into their appeal against their charges. (You can read more about the case on Wikipedia here.) In the past six weeks, Egoyan has been working on a rewrite for the film, which will presumably alter significantly how it was to originally end.
“Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the murder victims who initially believes the trio murdered her son, but she is eventually persuaded that the three suspects are innocent and wrongly accused.”
We’ll next get to see her in McG’s action comedy, This Means War, before she goes back to drama once more in Jeff Nichols’ Mud alongside Matthew McConaughey and Michael Shannon. Naturally, Devil’s Know sounds like it’s going to be a pretty dramatic and powerful film, so is definitely one to keep an eye on, and Witherspoon’s casting has already got me interested in it. More news as we get it.