Since the news broke Friday that Stephen Moyer has been cast as John Fogleman in Devil’s Knot, we decided that we’d put together some information about the man Steve will be portraying, as well as the infamous case that has grasped the public’s attention for nearly two decades. We also have a bit more information about the film Devil’s Knot from the director himself, Atom Egoyan. Consider this like Cliff Notes: Simply Moyer version!
First off, we’ve seen quite a few erroneous reports about the film Devil’s Knot. Based on an interview Atom Egoyan gave to the Wall Street Journal, this film is a work of fiction based on the case of the West Memphis Three (Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley Jr.). Also, and unfortunately, it does not appear that Steve has a lead role, as has been reported in numerous places. The film centers around the characters portrayed by Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth.
In “Devil’s Knot,” Egoyan will reinterpret the story of the West Memphis Three — the famous case of three Arkansas teenagers who were convicted in 1994 of killing three boys. They claimed innocence while spending 18 years in prison, but were set free last August after agreeing to an Alford Plea — when a party accepts a guilty verdict while maintaining innocence. The stunning turn-of-events came after new DNA evidence found at the crime scene excluded the three men as the source.
Egoyan says his film will be a work of fiction based on these true events, and that “Devil’s Knot” will focus on two other characters: the mother of one of the murdered boys, played by Reese Witherspoon, and the private investigator who worked for the teens’ defense team, played by Colin Firth.
Although the film is a work of fiction, it has still received the blessing of Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr., who are co-producers of the film. Egoyan also explains in the interview the important role that the real case of the West Memphis 3 plays in the film:
They’re part of the story. I mean what we’re focusing on is the two other characters – the mother of one of the boys who was killed, and this private investigator who was working for the boys’ defense team. It is a fiction based on reality of course, but I consider the West Memphis Three story a piece of American mythology now. After four documentaries and the way that story has persisted, it has become a story that I think will be looked at and reinterpreted because it is one of the most exhaustively examined pieces of crime and certainly a murder story outside of a celebrity of president. I can’t think of any other story that’s been unsolved, which remains at some level mysterious, and also which has been subject to such scrutiny. You go on the Internet, and it’s kind of amazing, these sites that are devoted to every piece of testimony, every piece of evidence. It has lingered in the American consciousness in a certain way, and I think it’s ripe for dramatic retelling, a reinvestigation that’s not bound by the orthodoxies of documentary.
To read the rest of this interview, please visit the source.
There have been four documentaries, not to mention numerous books and investigative reports about the West Memphis Three. HBO Television has aired three of the Paradise Lost documentaries. The most recent, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory is currently available to view on HBOGo (we’ve provided the trailer below). Unfortunately, neither of the most recent documentaries (PL3: Purgatory or West of Memphis) are available on DVD. The original documentary which brought international attention to the case, Paradise Lost: The Child Murders of Robin Hood Hills, is available on DVD and provides a detailed account of the original case.
For those questioning who the man is that Steve will be portraying; that is rather complex. Mara Leveritt, author of Devil’s Knot, provided this essay about John Fogleman to the Arkansas Times back in 2010. Although she admitted to opposing his candidacy for Arkansas Supreme Court, she did include, “almost every lawyer I know who has appeared in Fogleman’s court since he was elected a circuit judge 15 years ago holds him in high regard. In 2008, the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association honored him as its Outstanding Trial Judge.” She goes on to explain that she was one of many Arkansans who opposed Fogleman’s election because, “the ugliness of the trials that launched his judicial career cannot be forgotten.” To read the rest of this most fascinating essay, which provides a detailed account of the case, please visit the source.
To get a real glimpse of the man whom Steve will be portraying, take a look at this deleted scene from the original Paradise Lost documentary. It provides a little insight into what all goes into an actual trial and behind-the-scenes meetings such as this are the norm. It will be a very different challenge for Steve to portray not only a real person, but someone whom there is lots of footage of for people to compare him to. Although we are sure he’s up to that challenge!