Dimension Films has acquired the Mara Leveritt book “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three,” and set Scott Derrickson and Paul Harris Boardman to pen the script, with Derrickson to direct.
Drama centers on an infamous Arkansas murder case that ended with the conviction of three teens based largely on their alleged fascination with the occult.
“Devil’s Knot” reps a departure from Dimension’s usual genre fare, and co-chair Bob Weinstein and president Richard Saperstein said it will be on a fast track to production.
Three children were savagely murdered in 1993. Weeks later, police announced the arrest of three teens accused of committing the murders as part of a satanic cult ritual.
Among the evidence presented against the suspects to show their dark states of mind were posters of the rock band Metallica and books by Anne Rice and Stephen King.
Despite an outcry for a retrial and two HBO documentaries about the case that suggest plausible suspects were overlooked for political reasons, the three have remained in jail for more than a decade, including one who’s on death row.
Elizabeth Fowler, Boardman and Clark Peterson will produce.
Genre films like “Amityville Horror” and Derrickson and Boardman’s “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” regularly tie the phrase “based on a true story” to propel fictional horror storylines. The duo said “Devil’s Knot” will stick to the facts.
“There is already a dark tone to the material, but we are absolutely committed to only telling the truth, and not exaggerating to entertain,” Derrickson said. “We were very frank with Bob that this was the only way we’d make the movie, and he was right in line with us. We all understand the gravity, the high stakes of the situation, and the story is not over.”