Oscar winner Colin Firth turns private detective in Canadian director Atom Egoyan’s new fact-based drama Devil’s Knot, which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival on Sept. 8. Firth stars with Reese Witherspoon, Amy Ryan, Dane DeHaan, Stephen Moyer, and Mireille Enos in the film, which is based on the notorious case of three heavy-metal-loving teenagers from West Memphis, Ark., who were convicted of the 1993 murder of three 8-year-old boys despite a lack of evidence. The so-called West Memphis Three became the subject of Paradise Lost, a series of three award-winning documentaries by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, as well as a Peter Jackson-produced doc called West of Memphis that won them the attention of a host of celebrity and criminal-justice advocates. In 2011, the trio was freed from prison under an Alford plea that allowed them to proclaim their innocence while technically upholding their murder convictions (and exempting the state from civil penalties).
Egoyan’s new film, which does not yet have a U.S. distribution deal, is based on Mara Leveritt’s 2002 nonfiction book of the same name. Firth plays Ron Lax, a private investigator who dug up key DNA evidence that helped persuade the courts that Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin, and Jessie Misskelley may not have been responsible for the crimes. In the photo below, Firth appears with Collette Wolfe (Young Adult), another investigator on the case.