Wednesday, July 24, 2024

“Hobbit” Director Peter Jackson Secretly Funding Another “West Memphis 3” Doc?

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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

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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