Alessandro Nivola to Play Crucial, Controversial Role in ‘Devil’s Knot’

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).

The film’s cast already includes Witherspoon, Colin Firth, and Mireille Enos. The script for Devil’s Knot is based on Mara Leveritt’s 2003 book “Devil’s Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three,” with a screenplay penned by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman.