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‘Devil’s Knott’ Just Got Family Friendly. That’s Kinda Lame.

While she once was an edgy upcoming starlette (Freeway, American Psycho, Fear and S.F.W.), Reese Witherspoon is now a family friendly actress that stars in movies like Four Christmases, Monsters vs Aliens, Vanity Fair and Legally Blonde. It’s weird announcing her addition to Atom Egoyan’s West Memphis Three drama Devil’s Knot. It makes me nervous.

The pic is based on investigative reporter Mara Leveritt’s 2003 book “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three,” which chronicled the prolonged murder trial of defendants Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., who served 18 years in prison before being released in August. The trio were accused of killing Christopher Byers, Michael Moore and Stevie Branch, three 8-year-old boys who were found brutally murdered and hog-tied in a wooded area of West Memphis, Arkansas known as Robin Hood Hills.

Variety reports that Witherspoon will play Pam Hobbs, the mother of one of the victims. Hobbs originally believed that Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley murdered her son, but as the case dragged on and more details became available, she came to believe that the trio did not commit the heinous crime.

Mark Sevi wrote the original draft of the screenplay, with the current draft penned by Scott Derrickson (Exorcism of Emily Rose, Sinister) and Paul Boardman, who began working on the project in 2006 when it was set up at Dimension Films. Egoyan also had a hand in rewriting the script with Boardman.

Production on the under-$20 million feature is expected to start in the summer. Reese Witherspoon



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