It’s a little hard to figure out exactly what is going on down there in Little Rock viz a viz the West Memphis 3 story and films. Apparently Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky and their crew aren’t the only ones with cameras roaming around. Of course Berlinger and Sinofsky have the award winning “Paradise Lost” films for HBO. The third one will debut in Toronto, get an Oscar qualifying run and play on HBO in January.
But it turns out that Amy J. Berg, director of the Oscar nominated “Deliver Us From Evil,” has been down there for the last year trying to make her own film. And what I’m told is that Berg’s film is being funded at least in part by “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson. What’s weird about this is that Jackson has also spent a great deal on the legal fees of the West Memphis 3. Unbeknownst to many he’s given what’s described as a “chunk of change” to the trio’s defense lawyers. That no doubt helped them win the release last week of the three wrongly accused men.
A little digging on internet forums has shown that Berg is not winning friends down in Little Rock. But I’m told that she’s spent some of Jackson’s money locking down the rights to subsidiary characters–not the actual defendants–as she plots her film.
Neither Jackson nor Berg, nor reps associated with them, has responded to emails and phone calls. But I am told that Jackson being Berg’s “silent partner” has made things a little tense for the other filmmakers. “If Peter Jackson is paying for the defense, then won’t the people there feel indebted or bound to him?” asks one observer.
This comes on top of news that Canadian director Atom Egoyan has bought the rights of various locals so he can make a fiction film.
Meantime, Jackson hasn’t mentioned any of this in his recent Facebook posting about his involvement in the case. http://www.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=10150348803586558