Seventeen-year-old newcomer Seth Meriwether has been tapped to play West Memphis Three defendant Jason Baldwin in Atom Egoyan’s true crime drama “Devil’s Knot,” the pic’s second key role in as many weeks to go to an unknown thesp.
Currently a senior at Macon East Academy in Montgomery, Ala., Meriwether recently filmed a minor role in Warner Bros.’ baseball drama “Trouble With the Curve,” produced by and starring Clint Eastwood. Thesp began acting at age 11 at when he co-starred in “Richard III” at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.
He joins Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth in the project that will be produced and financed by Worldview Entertainment. As Variety first reported last week, college drama student James Hamrick will make his feature debut playing key defendant Damien Echols.
“Devil’s Knot” will be produced by Elizabeth Fowler, Clark Peterson, Richard Saperstein and Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow, as well as Paul Harris Boardman, who co-wrote the script with Scott Derrickson. Worldview’s Molly Conners, Sarah Johnson Redlich, Maria Cestone and Hoyt David Morgan will exec produce with Derrickson, Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley Jr.
Based on journalist Mara Leveritt’s bestselling book of the same name, “Devil’s Knot” follows private detective Ron Lax (Firth), who took on the West Memphis Three case pro bono. He found DNA evidence linking Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), the stepfather of one of the three murdered boys, to material that was used to bind one of the victims — evidence that helped convince a judge to release Baldwin, Misskelley Jr. and Echols last year.
Blog reports had pegged Justin Calen to play Baldwin, though that inaccurate report was premature, as Calen had yet to receive an official offer.
Also starring are Mireille Enos, Collette Wolfe and Kris Polaha, while Amy Ryan and Dane DeHaan remain in talks to join the ensemble. Kristopher Higgins will join Meriwether and Hamrick as fellow West Memphis Three member Misskelley Jr.