Johnny Depp options film rights to memoir by West Memphis Three-er Damien Echols

Johnny Depp, long a supporter of the trio popularly known as the “West Memphis Three”, has optioned an upcoming memoir written by Damien Echols, who in 1994 was convicted of the murder of three eight-year-old boys in West Memphis, Tennessee despite his protestations of innocence and a lack of physical evidence linking him to the crime. 

Though still in the early stages (Echols’ book doesn’t come out until September), the project is now the second narrative feature (after the Reese Witherspoon/Colin Firth starring “Devil’s Knot” directed by Atom Egoyan) based on the controversial case to have been announced since Echols and the other two men convicted of the crime – Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley – were released from prison last August. In addition, three documentaries about the case – known collectively as the “Paradise Lost” trilogy – have been put out over the last decade-and-a-half, with a fourth, “West of Memphis” produced by Peter Jackson and directed by Amy Berg, slated for release later this year.

Depp bought the rights to the tome alongside his producing partner Christi Dembrowski; Echols and his wife Lorri Davis (whom he married while imprisoned on death row) will serve as executive-produceres.

According to Deadline, which broke the story, the film will focus on Echols’ life both prior to the conviction and during his 18-year ordeal to have the case re-tried. Echols was freed from prison last year on an Alford plea, an unusual legal maneuver which allowed him to profess his innocence while remaining technically guilty in the eyes of the court. 

Does this sound like something you’d be interested in seeing, or will you be all West Memphis Three-ed out by the time it hits theaters? Sound off in the comments!