Alex Steyermark will direct “West Memphis Three,” a feature based on the Arkansas murder case that inspired Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s 1996 docu “Paradise Lost.”
Michael Pitt and Jacob Reynolds topline the pic. Dallas-based Curt Johnson wrote the script and produces. Berlinger and Sinofsky are exec producers.
In discussions to join the cast are Paul Dano (“L.I.E.”), Gina Gershon, Drea de Matteo, John Waters, Donal Logue, Michael Madsen, Giovanni Ribisi, Ricki Lake, Doug Hutchison (“The Salton Sea”) and J Barton (“Legally Blonde 2: Red, White and Blonde”).
Steyermark made his feature directing bow with “Prey for Rock & Roll,” which premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is slated for release this fall.
“West Memphis Three” is set in 1993 after the brutal murder of three young boys from West Memphis. Local teens Damien Echols, Jessie Miskelly and Jason Baldwin were subsequently arrested and controversially tried for the crime. Some observers viewed the accused’s fascination with heavy-metal music and Goth fashion as prima facie evidence of guilt.
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Budgeted under $10 million, “West Memphis Three” is backed by private equity. Production is scheduled to begin in October in Dallas and Arkansas.