Reese Witherspoon lands West Memphis Three movie
December 19th, 2011
09:32 AM ET

Reese Witherspoon lands West Memphis Three movie

Hollywood is at work on another film about the West Memphis Three, and Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon has signed on for it, reports Variety.

Witherspoon will appear in Atom Egoyan's "Devil's Knot," an adaptation of Mara Leveritt's 2003 book. The actress is slated to play one of the murdered boy’s mothers, Pam Hobbs.

Aside from Egoyan's project, there's also Peter Jackson's just-wrapped documentary about the case, called “West of Memphis." The dramatic story was also recently told via Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s "Paradise Lost" documentary series.

The West Memphis trio - Jason Baldwin, Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley Jr. - were released in August after serving 18 years in prison on child murder convictions.

soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Jason

    First off these three men were never "exonerated."
    They are all now by their guilty pleas legally ajudicated murderers.
    They got out of prison as part of their "no contest" plea deal but we can expect them and their supporters to spend about as much time looking for the "real killers" as OJ and Robert Blake promised to do – although Simpson and Blake were actually acquitted at their criminal trials, unlike the West Memphis 3.
    This is another case where Hollywood goes goo-goo over parts of America they hold in contempt.
    In reality these men had top-flight legal representation and their star witness was an expert from UC Berkley (Dr. Richard Ofshe) who is famous in his own right for claiming police coerce false confessions. The jury did not buy it nor did the appellate courts.
    Finally one of the three, Jesse Miskelley, confessed. That confession was dismissed by the defense on the theory he was "retarded" (the only time PC speech allows that expression to be used). Now he is no longer mentally challenged but simply – according to what he now says – worn down by the questions asked by the cops and just confessed to get them to quit asking
    The whole cult satanic thing sounds like BS but the fact remains three young children were horribly murdered and the man the filmmakers of "Paradise Lost" (x3) wanted us to think may have done it (stepfather to one victim) now we are supposed to believe because he now has jumped on the "WM3 are innocent bandwagon" (the one with all the celebs on board. Unfortunately dead victims don't have celebrity advocates.

    January 22, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • abby

      Well you clearly know nothing..

      1. Jessie's confession did NOT make sense & he it was not dismissed because of any mental handicaps, it was dismissed because of the fact that it simply was not consistant with what actually happened to the boys. He confessed to seeing and doing things that were not done to the boys such as rape, and Jessie somehow managed to get the whole time of the crime/actions leading up to the crime incorrect, along with MANY other inconsistant components.

      2. The step dad that they are STILL trying to pin in it on is not John Mark Byers.. it is Tery Hobbs, who, sicne the murders, has beat his wife and actually shot her brother. A hair from Terry Hobbs was found in the shoelaces of Christopher Byers. And his ex-wife & own daughter believe that he had something to do with it, as well.

      3. This case can't even compare to the OJ case. there was literealy NO motive and NO evidence against the tree convicted. Especially Damien & Jason since Jessie's confession could not be used in their trial.

      August 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. redmann

    In the confession, the boy describes catching and holding one of the boys who tried to run away. I believe he was pressured and scared bu I don't see how a fact like that could be coerced or incorrect.

    January 14, 2012 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • sara

      the guy that confessed was mentally retarded and after 12 hours of being interrogated he said that because he had enough of them. if you listen to the whole interview the police were leading him to say what they wanted him to say. at first he said it was at 9 am and then it goes on and on untill they said was it 7 or 8. so he said whatever because he wanted to go home to his dad.

      January 22, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. m0use2

    As someone who learned of this case years and years ago and who has watched the progress, and who never believed these boys were guilty, I have to say to those new to the case to please not read one side of the story. Even the idiot "satanic expert" was caught in so many untruths. First off anyone claiming to be an expert on a fake creature should be not be able to testify. Second, the satanic angle was shown to be completely false and the "ritualistic" knife marks were found to be post mortum animal bites. Read both sides and then comment.

    January 13, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Robert Lantz the first

    cackle cackle. Once upon the time. Did you idiots put one, Jean Haley, in or amongst my bloodline? She said no, she was ten. Ladies have the right to do that ya know.

    January 9, 2012 at 8:17 am | Report abuse |
  5. Leucadia Bob


    January 4, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Pete

    So I was intrigued by this case and found it odd that three men would be released by "claiming" not guilty but still are guilty, and somehow, they get released. A little research and being pointed in the right direction led me to find that there is plenty of stuff not being publicized about this murder case. One of the defendants confessed over and over again through a period of time (not just once in a police department interrogation room, as claimed). He insisted, months later, to confessing a complete time with HIS LAWYERS PRESENT, on tape. Consider that his lawyers were advising him STRONGLY that this would hurt him and the other two killers, and yet, he clearly says on tape that he "wants to make things right". No coercion here, just an insistence to get the truth out there, right in front of his own lawyers.

    Now, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see that he was not forced to confess, does it?

    And so a little further reading, something called the Exhibit 500...Damien Echols' hospital records, which appear to show some serious mental illness as in threatening to kill and eat his parents, grandmother, imaginary men coming to see him every night, believing he was God, weird writings. These sure seem to be real mental hospital records to me. His own lawyers tried to say he was so mentally ill that he never understood his first trial. And yet we are to believe that he's this "man about town" now? Could prison have healed him that much?

    I don't know how you could convince me or anyone else that they are innocent or were wrongly convicted, really. Anyone who can read ... just sayin. It looks to me like some smart lawyers claimed that because there was no DNA found (unless you want to count the DNA of a stepfather, who was with one or more of the kids every day and would naturally transfer some DNA to the kids), that they were not guilty. From the things pointed out to me, I believe the smart jury had it right the first time.

    January 2, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  7. susan

    Love Reese, but won't see this movie. There are too many stories out there that don't take into account the whole story.
    The west memphis 3 are guilty of murder and the celebrities that support them are guilty of blind faith in their innocence. I guess it makes for a good docudrama or fictional movie, but it does not reflect the reality of what these three did to those 8-year-olds.

    January 1, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Austinisfull

      Unless you were there and part of the investigation, I would say you are relying on blind faith as well, miss. If you were accused of something like this without significant proof and you were convicted, wouldn't YOU want everyone you can get helping you out?

      January 11, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Jerry

    I do believe the boys are innocent. There was no evidence linking any of the three to the murder nor any of their DNA found at the murder site. There is however DNA linked to one of the murder victims step father and the step fathers friend found at the scene and that is who I believe who had something to do with the murders.

    December 31, 2011 at 1:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sassy

    This case reminds me so much of the Anthony case ONLY everyone believed she was guilty from day one. The evidence never pointed to her either as the evidence in this case, but why is it so hard to believe that no matter what age a killer is, they are capable of the most heinious crimes? In the Anthony case they tried to pin everything on the grandpa, here it was directed to the step dad. Misskellys' confession never changed and it never sounded made up. BUT again! like the Anthony case, it is easier to believe the defendant's opening statements. It just goes to show that JUSTICE IS BLIND!!!

    December 28, 2011 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
  10. Tera

    West Memphis Three Truth....Unlike MOST of the people commenting. I have been a supporter for 15 years. And between you and I we BOTH know you are not telling the whole truth here. I will not get in a battle. I am not some idiot who saw the films and became a die hard supporter. I studied the evidence. I asked an attorney friend of mine to look at it. And I also have read through the case back and forth. Most have not, and if they had they would be shocked. No jury now would convict the three of them. Oh and as for LOL the respected Phd on cults. LOL Oh my god I cannot stop laughing about that. He has been WIDELY discredited on this case and others.

    December 27, 2011 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Lisa M

      Thank goodness...someone who speaks with reason. I would have never convicted them, but because the police work was sloppy, and the bible thumpers wanted to pin the blame on the devil, those boys were found guilty without evidence. In my opinion and has been since day 1, the stepdad is the one they need to look at.

      December 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rock

    I was a fan of the pic they used to lure us in just so we could see those baby feeders and then they use a different pic on the article, minus baby feeders....omg fail

    December 20, 2011 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Uncle Dutch

      I was all set to chastise the hell out of you until I had a moment of clarity and realized that I navigated to this page for the exact same reason. I'll find 'em...the tubes of the internets are vast and unfathomable.

      December 24, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. West Memphis Three Truth

    It would be better if a movie was made about Diana Moore or Steve Branch, two other parents of the murdered children. They both still believe the 3 are guilty.

    Many people believe the WM3 were guilty as charged. They were found guilty by a unanimous jury the first time. They plead guilty instead of waiting for a trial the second time.

    Of the three accused and convicted the first time, Misskelley confessed three separate times, once with his lawyer present. Misskelley also told two other people about the crime before he was arrested. Baldwin told someone else he committed the crimes. Echols was seen in muddy clothes near the crime scene. Echols is reported to have either told or bragged about the crime to four people before he was arrested.

    Echols also had a history of psychiatric treatment. His reported actions included brutally killing a dog, starting fires at his school, threatening to kill his teachers and parents and stating he liked to drink blood. see wm3truth (dot) com

    December 20, 2011 at 1:18 am | Report abuse |
    • FailTruth

      Your truth is so flawed you must either be an Arkie cop, or related to one or the DA.

      Poor kid was mentally deficient and hammered by cops with no attorney for 12 hours. Get real – the real killers got away with it and went on to do more to other humans because of the witch hunt bible crazed fail.

      Prosecution's star witness 'expert' on 'magic, occult, witchcraft' had a degree from an Internet warehouse – he had no degree. He made up his own facts to scare dumb people.

      DNA found at the crime scene was from one of the victim's fathers and said father's friend – there was no DNA from the three railroaded.

      Please spew your lies elsewhere.

      December 20, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • West Memphis Three Truth

      I'm not a cop, nor am I related to the DA. Misskelley was a street smart kid who had been arrested before. He knew what was going on. The post replying to mine repeats several myths about the case.

      Misskelley was NOT "hammered" for 12 hours. He confessed the first time after 3 – 4 hours of off and on questioning. He confessed the third time IN FRONT of his lawyer. The prosecution's expert witness had several degrees from respected universities, plus a PhD studying cults. He was a respected law enforcer with many years of experience.

      The DNA from the stepfather was from a hair that could have come from simple contact with one of the victims. The hair could have belonged to 1.5 percent of the population (or several million people). The possible DNA from a friend was on a nearby tree stump and could have belonged to 7 percent of the people. It is not surprising no DNA from the three that plead guilty the second time was found. The crime scene was underwater and the bodies were there many hours after the murders were committed. This destroyed most of the evidence.

      When the three were released, the real killers did get away with it.

      December 21, 2011 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Benjamin D'Over

    Reese ages like fine wine. More lovely as each day passes. Kim Jung passed like rotten cheese.

    December 19, 2011 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Benjamin D'Over

    Reese, Reese, you are looking quite fetching in that photo. As discussed lets meet at our usual spot for a late night "tete a tete".

    December 19, 2011 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Leigha

    So happy for the men who were released. Looking forward to the movie

    December 19, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  16. WM3

    They're not guilty.
    An emo-looking dude and two acquaintances do not murderers make.

    December 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  17. LoJenk


    December 19, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Little Jenn

    @Emma, Strange does not equal or can be defined as Guilty. Ted Bundy came across as charming, not strange, along with many other prolific serial killers, which is why they got away with what they did for so long. In this case, the accused were rail roaded for being strange although evidence did not point to them being guilty.

    December 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • david


      December 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ted

      You're just parroting what's said in the film. Have you even bothered reading more about them?

      Echols was more than just a troubled teen who wore black and liked heavy metal... he was nuts!

      December 20, 2011 at 6:45 am | Report abuse |
  19. Callia


    December 19, 2011 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  20. emma

    I sure think Damien was involved. So did the DA. That is one strange guy.

    December 19, 2011 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
    • JoJo

      These 3 killers were guilty alright. They took a rare plea (the Alford plea) which means they are convicted murderers but claim innocence. The plea allowed their freedom and for Echols, it saved his life.

      For what it's worth, Echols revealed some details of the murders (after the murders occured) that only the killer/s would know. Check out Blink on Crime . com (all one word).

      December 30, 2011 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  21. sweet jessica

    sorry. . . it was the case. That sure was an odd story. Maybe itll be an ok movie. Later it was claimed 1 of the boys dads may have been the bad guy.

    December 19, 2011 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  22. sweet jessica

    Were they the 3 young men that were supposedly killed by accused devil worshipers? Then the accused guys were later released?

    December 19, 2011 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |

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