December 6th, 2011
11:17 AM ET
Though he’s helming “The Hobbit,” director Peter Jackson found some spare time to film a documentary about the West Memphis Three called “West of Memphis.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, the doc has wrapped.
Peter Jackson and co-producer Fran Walsh made the film as part of a campaign to exonerate the trio - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr. - and overturn what they call “one of the most infamous miscarriages of justice in American history.”
In 2005, Jackson and Walsh funded a new investigation into the convictions of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley. In 1993, the men (then teenagers) were convicted of murdering three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas.
Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were released from prison in August after entering a rarely used plea in which they maintain their innocence while also acknowledging prosecutors have evidence to convict them.
Peter Jackson is reportedly hoping the new film will clear their names. Damien Echols and his wife, Lorri Davis, also have producer credits on “West of Memphis.”
Jackson spoke of working with Echols in October, explaining, "We're doing investigative work, we're doing forensic work ... with the purpose of getting a complete pardon."
The doc will feature new evidence, interviews with key figures and the victims’ friends and family members, as well as words from celebrity supporters including Eddie Vedder, Henry Rollins and Natalie Maines.
“Seven years ago, Fran and I began this journey with Damien and Lorri, having no idea where it would lead,” Jackson says of the film. “We now realize that journey is not over, that even though these men have been released from prison - they are not free. Our hope is that continuing evidence testing and further investigation will lead to the unmasking of the killer of these children and that one day Damien, Jason and Jessie will be exonerated.”
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