Atom Egoyan

Colin Firth in Devil

Devil’s Knot is in a bit of a pickle. A new trailer for the film just debuted online, tempting audiences with two minutes’ worth of Colin Firth speaking in a Southern twang. But two hours’ worth of the same premiered at last fall’s Toronto International Film Festival, and the results were… well, less than stellar. So director Atom Egoyan and Devil’s Knot must peddle their wares, knowing all too well that the typing of a mere two words — “Rotten Tomatoes” — can all but obliterate the goodwill generated from Colin Firth saying “y’all.”

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devils_knot

Four highly publicized documentaries in, it should go without saying that the West Memphis Three ordeal has taken up its fair share of screentime. The necessity for a narrative feature is a questionable one, and despite the potential promise of Atom Egoyan’s Devil’s Knot, the film ultimately stands as a prime example why the story shouldn’t be adapted into a narrative feature – at least not a narrative feature this lazy and uninteresting as this one. Even with a cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Kevin Durand, Dane DeHaan, Bruce Greenwood, Amy Ryan, and Mireille Enos, Egoyan has delivered one of the worst big screen takes on a true story of this magnitude in quite some time, an eye-popping failure of both execution and emotion. Egoyan fails to engage with not only his audience but also the actual material he’s attempting to portray on screen, making Devil’s Knot one of the year’s most disappointing misfires.

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devils-knot

Courtesy of EW comes this first, small look at Atom Egoyan‘s Devil’s Knot, the dramatization of the horrible tale of the West Memphis Three, a trio of teenage boys who were convicted in the 1993 murders of three eight year-old boys despite a lack of evidence. Though the incident has been the subject of several documentaries, this is the first time their story has come to the big screen as a factual, but fictionalized drama based on a 2002 nonfiction book of the same name by Mara Leveritt. Colin Firth is front and center in the only two stills released, and handsome as the man is, they’re not giving us much to work with before the film’s premiere at TIFF. Firth plays Ron Lax, a private investigator who worked to find DNA evidence that proved the three teens may not have committed the heinous crimes. In the first image, Firth appears on his massive ’90s brick phone, chatting about important PI business, while in the second, he sits in the courtroom with another investigator (Collette Wolfe) looking like they both just heard some bad news.

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Jim Carrey

What is Casting Couch? Today it’s the casting roundup with news about a talking raccoon, a frog puppet, a famous dog, a beautiful woman, and David Hasselhoff’s shorts. So far Marvel’s next big thing, The Guardians of the Galaxy, has been a great source of casting rumors, but not yet a generator of any casting confirmations. We’ve heard about a bevy of actors who might play Star-Lord, a handful who might be Drax the Destroyer, and now the Latino Review is reporting that director James Gunn and company are reaching out to both Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler to inquire about their availability for the film. What roles might they play? Perhaps they could provide the voices for either the big tree guy, Groot, or the little raccoon guy, Rocket Raccoon. I mean, it would just be too weird if either of them actually showed up playing a live action role, wouldn’t it? Definitely. Even hearing Sandler’s one goofy voice he uses coming out of a CG character’s mouth would just be too weird already. Let’s hope that rumor is completely off base.

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Jackie Chan

What is Casting Couch? It’s a column that has a lot of new casting news today, so settle in. Even after only two movies, the number of aged action stars who have yet to appear in Sylvester Stallone’s Expendables series has dwindled down to a select few. So, given his age, his lengthy resume, and the way he’s linked almost exclusively to the action genre, Jackie Chan has to be seen as one of the biggest fish out there that Stallone has yet to catch. It looks like that’s going to change in The Expendables 3, however, as Chan has told Cinema Online [via Coming Soon] that Stallone has invited him to join the cast of the film, and he has agreed to appear as long as it’s in a featured part and not just a cameo. Looks like we might finally get our chance to see Dolph Lundgren get beat up with a ladder.

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And we’re back on the Devil’s Knot casting beat (and, yes, we’re pretty beat by it). Atom Egoyan‘s upcoming film documenting the tragedy of the West Memphis 3 has so far collected a cast of various talents and notoriety levels, including Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Mireille Enos, Collette Wolfe, Kris Polaha, Kristopher Higgins, along with still-in-negotiations actors Amy Ryan and Dane DeHaan, but now the filmmaker is mining some truly undiscovered country. Variety reports that Seth Meriwether has been tapped for the role of West Memphis 3 defendant Jason Baldwin (the outlet notes that earlier reports that Justin Castor was set for the role were “premature,” as the actor had not yet received an official offer at the time of it hitting the wire). Don’t know Meriwether’s name? Well, you wouldn’t – the kid is a seventeen-year-old high school senior from Montgomery, Alabama. Just how the heck did Meriwether land such a plum part? The outlet doesn’t say, but it does reveal that Meriwether recently filmed a “minor role” in the Clint Eastwood-starring Trouble With the Curve, so we can only assume that his work there got the word out. A brief Google search of the kid’s name also turned up a myriad of articles detailing his acting career over the years, so it looks like Meriwether has been honing his chops for quite some time. But Egoyan has cast yet another unknown as the final member of the West Memphis 3, and this one does come with a thrilling […]

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In which we return to our well-worn beat of covering casting news on Atom Egoyan‘s Devil’s Knot, which will chronicle the real life tragedy and drama of the West Memphis 3. The film has already cast Reese Witherspoon as the mother of one of the murdered boys, Alessandro Nivola as her husband (and a possible suspect), Colin Firth as private investigator Ron Lax, and Mireille Enos as a major witness. Casting on the film has now ramped up so considerably that we’ll just tease you with some names and provide a full rundown of their involvement and possible roles after the break. Amy Ryan. Collette Wolfe. Dane DeHaan. Read on!

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Atom Egoyan‘s Devil’s Knot continues to slowly round out its cast with interesting and perhaps off-beat casting choices. Next up, Deadline Primm reports that Alessandro Nivola will play a crucial role in Egoyan’s film that centers on the real life story of the West Memphis 3. Nivola (Face/Off, Grace Is Gone) has been tapped to play Terry Hobbs, the stepfather of one of the victims in the brutal 1993 murder of three small boys. The role is billed as “pivotal” to the film and, with Reese Witherspoon set to play Hobbs’ wife Pam (and the mother of victim Stevie Branch), the pair’s relationship will “form the backbone of the story.” But Hobbs’ importance in the film is not just of the emotional variety – he’s still viewed as a primary suspect in the case. Hobbs has long been linked to the murders as a possible suspect and, even twenty years later, new evidence continues to come out against the man. Amy Berg’s Sundance documentary, West of Memphis, also paid particular attention to Hobbs as a suspect, with the last third or so of the film focusing squarely on a bevy of new accusations and witnesses who have come out against Hobbs (some of the interviews were filmed just days before the film premiered at the festival).

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Atom Egoyan‘s upcoming drama based on the real-life tragedy of the West Memphis 3, Devil’s Knot, has been quite slowly accumulating cast members, with news on each new member of the production trickling out over the course of many months. Reese Witherspoon joined the cast in December as Pam Hobbs, the mother of victim Stevie Branch, and Colin Firth signed on in February to play Ron Lax, a private eye who offered his services to the WM3 before their trial in 1993. While the project itself was announced all the way back in August, with such delicate material to cover, perhaps Egoyan is taking his time in picking his cast (what an idea!). Devil’s Knot has now added its third major cast member, and it is indeed a delicate role that is being filled – Deadline Seattle reports that The Killing star Mireille Enos will play Vicki Hutcheson in the film. Those who are familiar with the WM3 tragedy and trials surely know Hutcheson’s name – she became a key witness during the 1993 investigation into the murders of children Branch, Michael Moore, and Christopher Byers, a witness who later recanted her statements. The film continues the Golden Globe-nominated actress’ foray into features – she will next be seen in Gangster Squad and World War Z.

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The West Memphis Three trials are infamous, not just for the brutality of the crime that spawned them, but also for the controversy surrounding the verdict. The case involved the triple homicide of three 8-year-old boys and the conviction of three teenagers, who were thought to be responsible for the crime. After the three were imprisoned, however, doubts began to grow about their guilt, eventually leading to their release from prison on August 19th of this year, 17 years after their conviction. The entirety of the trials, convictions, imprisonments, and further investigations into the murders that eventually led to the suspects’ releases were already well-chronicled in the Paradise Lost trilogy of documentaries done by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, but now it seems that since the whole ordeal has come to an end, Hollywood is going to take a crack at dramatizing the story. To that end, screenwriters Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose) have been adapting a screenplay from a book about the murders, Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three, which was written by Mara Leveritt. That’s a lot of names involved with this project already, but let’s add one more to the pile. Derrickson and Boardman’s script is going to be directed by Atom Egoyan (Chloe), who has worked on the latest draft of the script with Boardman. The newest news about the film is that Egoyan and company have signed Reese Witherspoon to play a featured role. She’ll be […]

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Chloe

Anyone can make a movie that is sexy. In fact, I’ve seen more than a few films in my day that were sexy, and nothing else. What they give us visual stimuli is not balanced with any substance. Substance is what can make a sexy film an erotic one. Substance is the key to Atom Egoyan’s Chloe. That, and the performance of Amanda Seyfried.

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To this point we’ve seen little but singing, sweetness and hilarious dumb-blondiness from Amanda Seyfried. Which is what makes this trailer for Chloe so interesting.

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published: 12.22.2014
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published: 12.19.2014
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published: 12.18.2014
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