You can say this for Shia LaBeouf: he doesn’t shy away from tough roles or movies. He’s agreed to star in “Trial by Fire,” directed by Ed Zwick. This is based on the New Yorker story by David Grann about a man who was accused of setting a fire that killed his three children.
Todd Willingham maintained his innocence up til the end. But he was eventually sent to death row and finally put to death by lethal injection. Through it all he was championed by a playwright named Elziabeth Gilbert, who will be played by the great Laura Dern. Gilbert has her own drama in the story– as Willingham was sent to death row, Gilbert was in a terrible automobile accident.
Since Willingham’s death, Gilbert– now recovered– has been an ardent speaker on being against the death penalty. There have also been investigations into the forensic science used in Willingham’s case– he may have been innocent, as he claimed, but we’ll never know. Certainly the movie will have a lot of leeway in that direction, much like last year’s “Making of a Murderer.”