Tuesday, Dec. 25 2012, 05:00 PM
It's hard to imagine just how surreal Damien Echols' life must have been. In 1994, the teenager was sentenced to death for his alleged part, along with two others, in the gruesome 1993 murder of three boys in Arkansas. Convicted by state prosecutors riding a wave of public and media hysteria, the so-called West Memphis Three spent the next 18 years in prison -- until an accumulation of new evidence raised doubts as to their guilt and, in 2011, they were finally set free. Having spent most of his adult life incarcerated, Echols has since become something of a celebrity, drawing the support of people like Peter Jackson, Johnny Depp and Eddie Vedder, who lent their weight to the campaign to free the falsely-accused men and expose the miscarriage of justice. Jackson also co-produced an extensive new documentary about the case -- Amy Berg's West of Memphis -- and with the film opening theatrically this week, we had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Echols recently. Read on for more of the interview, in which Echols talks about life in prison, his admiration for Stephen King, how the support of those famous pals helped save him from death row, and his plans with Depp to produce a screen version of his memoir. First up, he took a moment to talk about his five favorite films.