Devil's Knot, the planned big-screen adaptation of the West Memphis Three story, to be helmed by the Exorcism of Emily Rose and Day the Earth Stood Still director Scott Derrickson, is on hold pending rights issues with the book of the same name, upon which the screenplay is based. Derrickson told RT that despite spending a large amount of time preparing the movie it looked like the project wouldn't be happening.
The West Memphis Three are Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley and Jason Baldwin who, in the early nineties, were convicted of the murders of three 8 year-old boys in the Robin Hood Hills area of West Memphis, Arkansas. Many believe that the convictions were a miscarriage of justice and that their trial was based on questionable evidence. Two feature-length documentaries, called Paradise Lost, have been released about the case with a third in production.
"I really care about that story - I think it's an important story - and I'm sad I'm not going to get to tell it," Derrickson told us. "I went to West Memphis, I've interviewed all the families and I've seen the entire crime scene file. I've read all the court transcripts of both trials and really did my research. Looking at the actual crime scene photos is one of the most depressing experiences I've had. It was really, really awful.
"I absolutely believe that the West Memphis Three are innocent. I know everything about that crime and I think the fact that they're in prison is ridiculous."
For Derrickson, the story was an interesting counterpoint to his work on Emily Rose. "I really thought it was an extraordinary story about America, and a really interesting, microcosmic view of America," he said. "The role that religion came to play in the judicial system and the impropriety of that - in some ways it was the flipside to Emily Rose to me. Emily Rose was asking the audience to really consider and take seriously the possibility of the demonic existing. This story was going to be, in some ways, the incredible danger of taking that stuff too seriously; if you take that stuff too seriously people get hurt."
Derrickson's fascination with the darker side of religion continues, though, as -- coincidentally - his next project is an adaptation of Milton's epic poem Paradise Lost, about Satan and the Fall of Man in the Garden of Eden. Join us later for more on that project.
Mark Kozelek, it would seem, is a man with a heart of gold and a surplus of sweet swag lying about. How else to explain the Sun Kil Moon/Red House Painters master-melancholic's participation in yet another charity auction, his second this year?
July found the Koz selling off some old (blue?) guitars for the benefit of the American Red Cross and Midwestern flood victims, while this month Mark traded pick for pen and autographed a bunch of cool stuff to aid the West Memphis Three, the trio of then-teens believed wrongfully convicted of a 1993 triple homicide and imprisoned (and a favorite cause of more than a few musical types).
The auction runs from now until December 18 (bid here), and includes a number of CDs and LPs, a concert poster, and copies of the Nights of Passed Over lyrics book, all bearing Kozelek's signature. Proceeds go to the West Memphis Three's defense fund.
As if Mark weren't being generous enough already, he's also streaming the entirety of his covers/rarities collection The Finally LP on his MySpace right now. That set hits stores tomorrow (December 9) via Mark's own Caldo Verde imprint, and even the cows on the cover look kinda glum.