If you’ve never heard of the West Memphis Three, I’d encourage you to seek out one of many documentaries about the three boys wrongly accused of child murder back in 1994 and the real-life drama that followed. The Paradise Lost films sparked nationwide interest in the case and got the attention of Peter Jackson, who produced an exhaustive chronicle of the events in a documentary called West of Memphis that played at Sundance 2012. Johnny Depp, Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines, Henry Rollins, and more have been fighting for the boys for years, and now Depp will produce a movie based on an upcoming memoir written by Damien Echols, one of the accused.
Depp’s company Infinitum Nihil has optioned the rights to the book (via The Playlist), which is set to be released in September of this year. Echols and his wife Lorri Davis will executive produce the film version, which will “spotlight the controversial conviction and imprisonment of the then 18-year-old who’s now in his mid-30s and present his life before conviction as well its twists and turns leading to release.”
The West Memphis Three have been big in the news recently, since West of Memphis provided new evidence in the case during its Sundance premiere a couple of weeks ago. And Atom Egoyan (Chloe) is already directing a movie called The Devil’s Knot about the case, which is starring Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth, so Depp will have to compete with another big budget take on this insane true story once things get rolling with this version.