After 18 bad years behind bars, exonerated West Memphis Three defendant Damien Echols was freed on 8.19.11 through an Alford plea. And then Amy Berg‘s excellent, unavoidably compelling West of Memphis was released, and Echols has been on the promotion circuit (for his book Life After Death as well as the film) ever since.
Echols on Devil’s Knot, the upcoming Atom Egoyan film that was inspired by and mostly based on the West Memphis Three case: “We’re completely against it…I’ve read previous drafts…it’s not even remotely accurate…[it’s been called] a ficitional account based on the mythology of the West Memphis Three…they’ve taken a fringe character who had little or nothing to do with me getting out, and made like the big star and hero and everything…no, we don’t have anything to do with it and want to stay as far away from it as possible.”
If there’s a God West of Memphis will at the very least be nominated for Best Feature Documentary Oscar. A win would obviously be better.
I ran into Echols at two Sundance 2012 events — a West of Memphis after-party and a morning press conference — and again at the 2012 Santa Barbara Film Festival. The possibly guilty party Echols is speaking about in the early part of the DP30 interview is Terry Hobbs.