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"West Memphis Three" movie on the way

Damien Echols, left, Jessie Misskelley, Jr., center, and Jason Baldwin at the Craighead County Court House in Jonesboro, Ark., Friday, Aug. 19, 2011. AP

(CBS) The so-called West Memphis Three - Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley - had barely been out of prison Friday when news came that a movie about their 18-year ordeal is in pre-production.

Pictures: West Memphis Three set free
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As it happens, the movie had already been in the works. Deadline reports director Atom Egoyan ("The Sweet Hereafter") is set to start production in the spring with a script by Scott Derrickson and Paul Boardman (who wrote "The Exorcism of Emily Rose"). The script is based on Mara Leveritt's 2003 book "Devil's Knot: The True Story of the West Memphis Three." Leveritt's book follows the trials of Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley.

According to Deadline, the screenwriters first began working on the project in 2006. Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley were convicted in 1994 of killing 8-year-olds Steve Branch, Christopher Byers and Michael Moore.

Though Misskelley initially confessed to the crimes, the three maintained their innocence. After many years of legal wrangling, the three were set free Friday. A legal maneuver lets them maintain their innocence while acknowledging prosecutors may have evidence to convict them.

Over the years, many celebrities, including Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, Natalie Maines and Johnny Depp, became supporters of a new trial for Echols, Baldwin and Misskelley.

Read more here.