Cinemetal

REESE WITHERSPOON IS GONNA STAR IN THE WEST MEMPHIS THREE MOVIE

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After the West Memphis Three were finally freed this summer, it was announced that filmmaker Atom Egoyan was making The Devil’s Knot, a non-documentary feature-length biopic about the trio. Now the movie has added its first star to the cast: Reese Witherspoon, who won an Oscar for playing June Carter in Walk the Line.

Deadline reports that “Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the murder victims, who initially believes the trio murdered her son, but is eventually persuaded the three suspects are innocent and wrongly accused.”

And I know that it’s tempting to get all up in arms about this casting, since Witherspoon is little pixie who often appears in terrible romantic comedies. But given the right material, she is not at all terrible.

And her presence in the film means that at very least, people may actually see it — certainly, more people than have seen any of the excellent Paradise Lost documentaries on the subject. And if seeing this movie means that people a) learn about the terrible things that happened to the West Memphis Three and b) feel motivated to ensure that such terrible things never happen to any more innocent people just because they look weird and listen to heavy metal, well, there’s no way to see that as anything but a good thing.

So the movie may suck — we obviously won’t know until it’s released — but I’m not ready to write it off based on Witherspoon’s involvement alone. When they hire Taylor Lautner to play Damien Echols, then we can all freak out.

The Devil’s Knot begins shooting in the summer, and will presumably be released sometime in 2013.

-AR

 

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