Even in its recent casting spurt, the role of Damien Echols has been a specter hanging over Devil’s Knot. The most well-known, outspoken, and controversial member of the West Memphis 3 is not only bound to play a major role in the Atom Egoyan film, but also, as a result, needs to be played just right for much of the drama to work. So, who would play him?
Unless you go to Wesleyan University or, at the very least, attend their shows, it’s no one you’ve ever heard of. ShowBlitz has learned that one of their drama students, James Hamrick, impressed Egoyan so much with an audition that he’s officially won the role over “dozens” of established young actors. With this, the film’s West Memphis 3 have been locked in; Kristopher Higgins will play Jessie Misskelley, and Justin Castor is set to appear as Jason Baldwin.
Devil’s Knot actually centers on Ron Lax, played here by Colin Firth, whose independent investigations into the crime scene revealed a startling connection to Terry Hobbs, a stepfather of one of the murdered boys. Reese Witherspoon will play his wife, Pamela Hobbs, while the rest of the cast is filled out by Mireille Enos, Kristopher Higgins, Kristoffer Polaha, Collette Wolfe, Justin Castor; if Egoyan gets his way, Amy Ryan and Dane DeHaan will also take part.
Devil’s Knot will start shooting on June 25th.
Moving on, Deadline has learned that Portia Doubleday (Youth in Revolt) will take one of the bigger roles in Kimberly Peirce‘s Carrie. She’s not replacing Chloe Moretz, and she’s definitely not stepping in for Julianne Moore — as bizarre, provocative, and amazing as that would be — but will be seen as Chris Hargensen, Carrie White’s main tormentor. (This is despite an earlier report that pegged Pan’s Labyrinth star Ivana Baquero for the role.) The previously-mentioned Judy Greer is also confirmed for the role of Rita Desjardin, a gym teacher who shows sympathy toward the titular telekinetic lead.
A little bit of insight into Carrie has arrived from Moretz herself, as she told Vanity Fair (via ThePlaylist) that this new incarnation will share more with Aronofsky than De Palma. Not in the use of future space bubbles, obviously, but by implementing a style that takes cues from Black Swan‘s psychological bent and the ensuing visual trickery. (I don’t know how that’s necessarily more in line with Stephen King‘s book, as everyone involved claims it will be, but let’s not get too presumptuous.) And, what’s more, the young actress will also change her own appearance — which might mean she’s not blonde and a little more poverty-stricken. It still doesn’t convince me she’s the right choice for Carrie, but it’s one step in the right direction.
Are you surprised by the choice on Devil’s Knot? Is the new Carrie hitting the right notes for you?
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