There have been few contemporary true crime stories examined as deeply as the West Memphis Three… but then again, few contemporary true crime stories have been as compelling, frustrating, controversial and heartbreaking as this one. After four documentaries (including the Peter Jackson-produced “West Of Memphis” slated for release later this year) a feature film is now on the way, and the tough job of casting the teenage boys accused of murdering and disfiguring three young boys is starting.
Variety reports that Atom Egoyan has wisely selected the unknown newcomer James Hamrick to play Damien Echols in “The Devil’s Knot.” Easily the most verbose and thoughtful of the trio, Hamrick will certainly have a lot of footage and interviews to study to help him get Echols down right. According to the trade, Hamrick was tipped to audition for the part when a rival at Coastal Carolina U. encouraged him to audition. We guess they’re not rivals anymore. And as the story goes, he got the job on the same day he tried out for Egoyan, so either the director was hella impressed, or realized the June 25th start date for the movie was fast approaching. We’re guessing it’s the former, and it’s a pretty nice way to start a career.
Hamrick will have lots of talent around him as well, co-starring with Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Amy Ryan, Dane DeHaan, Mirielle Enos, Alessandro Nivola and more. And we’re hoping this is a return to long absent form for Egoyan.