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Casting Call: Devil in the Grove

Emma Stone may have perfected her southern accent in The Help, but her interviewing skills will once again be put to the test as we nominate her for the role of Mabel Norris Reese. Reese, editor of the Mount Dora Weekly Topic, was known for her persistence and desire to expose the truth. Rumors are flying that the writers for the film, Adam Cooper and Bill Collage, are looking to create a strong and more notable role for the journalist. We feel Stone's outspoken charm will hopefully add a lighter note to the grave tone of the film. 

Photo by Mikael Jansson,
Interview, August 2012

"Mr. Civil Rights" Thurgood Marshall was arguably the most important lawyer of the 20th century, completely altering the treatment of African Americans across the U.S. With his eloquence and fearlessness, the lawyer helped change the verdict of the Groveland Boys case in 1949. No one is more suited for the role than heartthrob Denzel Washington. It won't be his first film about civil rights—Washington played Malcom X in 1992 and Rubin "The Hurricane" Carter in 1999—nor his first time playing a lawyer, but we hope Washington can take a break from the vigilante gun films and remind us why he's been nominated for six Oscars (and won three).

Photo by Herb Ritts,
Interview, July 1990


When 17 year old Norma Lee Padgett cries rape, the town of Lake County, Florida can't help but feel for the petite young blonde; however, looks can be deceiving, as the southern beauty falsely accuses four black men after they were unable to fix her car. Slender, 5'4" Dakota Fanning would fit this role perfectly with her innocent appearance yet cold demeanor.

Photo by Brigitte Lancombe,
Interview, November 2008


Jesse Hunter only had two formal years of education, but the 70-year-old attorney helped prosecute the case of the Groveland Boys, sending two of the three boys to their deathbed. During this case, Hunter was in his 24th year as State Attorney, but he was more famously known for his wit and love of gabbing both inside and outside of the courtroom. Though Tommy Lee Jones has a higher level of education—he received a scholarship to Harvard—as IMDb points out, his trademark is "hard-edged but sarcastic law enforcement" roles, making him a great candidate for this part. 



For the violent and racist sheriff Willis V. McCall (who also happened to be the local ringleader of the KKK), a large and intimidating actor is needed to be cast. Luckily for Allison Shearmur, we found just the man: Philip Seymour Hoffman definitely has the stature and build of McCall and, more importantly, he a great actor who is not afraid to take on unlikeable characters.


Sammy Shepherd was a successful, 22-year-old World War II veteran, living and working on the land his father bought. He was falsely accused of rape and was murdered by Willis V. McCall. The sad story of Shepherd would best be played by Fruitvale Station (and former Wire) star Michael B. Jordan. Not only is the actor the right age (or, right age by Hollywood standards), but his innocent smile—and dashing looks—are sure to win the sympathy of any audience.