Devil’s Knot, a true crime thriller starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, has been picked up for distribution by Image Entertainment. It has been given a 2014 release date.
The film, based on the book by Mara Leverett, tells the true story of three grisly murders in May, 1993, in West Memphis Arkansas. The subsequent trial and conviction of three young men in a satanic panic sparked worldwide attention with it’s numerous celebrity followers. Thousands of people had supported Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley—dubber the West Memphis Three—and decried their sentencing (Echols was given the death sentence) despite a total lack of physical evidence.
The West Memphis Three were released to worldwide cheers of freedom in August, 2011 when a judge vacated the murder convictions passed down almost nearly two decades prior. Each man had spent more than half his life behind bars for crimes for which they have maintained their innocence.
Reese Witherspoon portrayed Pam Hobbs, mother of victim Steven Branch, and has been tied to the project since late 2011. Hobbs, one of many who originally believed the three to be guilty, was at the trial where the men were given their freedom.
“Once I come to the forgiving part of grieving, I started looking into everything myself just as other people did and had questions myself,” she told FOX affiliate WHBQ Television in 2010.
Colin Firth was announced early last year to portray Ron Lax, a private investigator whose detective work was crucial to finding DNA evidence which helped free the West Memphis Three. Shortly afterward, defendant Jason Baldwin was announced as an executive producer for Devil’s Knot. The case was previously documented in a series of documentary films, entitled Paradise Lost, by HBO filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky.
Reese was on hand for the film’s debut at the Toronto International Film festival last month. The film was given massive praise at its world premiere.
“Reese Witherspoon delivers a stellar, emotional performance, displaying her versatility by transforming herself as a vulnerable mother trying to make sense of her son’s death,” said Image’s chief acquisition officer Bill Bromiley. “Her commitment to the role was exceptional, proving once again why she is one of Hollywood’s best leading actors.”