“West Memphis Three” survivor will get “Lord of the Rings” holiday
HollywoodNews.com: The West Memphis Three got a thunderous and rapturous standing ovation last night at the New York Film Festival premiere of “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.” It was quite an evening for them, with celebrities like singer Paul Simon, and actress-activist-producer Trudie Styler there to support them. Earlier in the day, Damien Echols said at HBO’s press conference that his biggest adjustment to life outside prison after 17 years was walking. “I’m used to walking in chains,” he said. “I fell down a lot the first few days.”
Now Echols, who’s left Arkansas for good, heads to New Zealand with his girlfriend for two months. They will be hosted by “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson, who took an interest in the case and helped fund the defense along with rock stars Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines, and actor Johnny Depp among others.
Jackson’s involvement has been a double edged sword. While his generosity made a lot of the legal wrangling possible, he’s also caused some problems for “Paradise Lost” filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky. Jackson has been funding a documentary by Amy Berg, who came into the West Memphis Three saga after the first two “Paradise Lost” films were made and heaped with awards. Since Berg arrived in Arkansas, sources say, she’s done a lot to undercut the “Paradise Lost,” which will undoubtedly be up for an Oscar. It also premieres on HBO in January.
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