Newcomer James Hamrick Gets Wrapped in 'Devil's Knot'

As "Devil's Knot" is set to commence with production in just a little over ten days, director Atom Egoyan must be breathing a sigh of relief as he's finally found someone to take on the role of Damien Echols.

And that someone has just gotten his big break, as unknown drama student James Hamrick has won the part, according to Variety.

Hamrick, who's currently enrolled at Nebraska Wesleyan University, beat out dozens of experienced Hollywood actors for the role, putting himself on tape after his drama school rival at Coastal Carolina U. saw a casting notice and encouraged him to submit because of his resemblance to Echols. Hamrick flew to Atlanta on Wednesday and won the part by nightfall.

Damien Echols is one of the West Memphis Three, three men who were tried and convicted as teenagers in 1994 of the 1993 murders of three boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Echols was sentenced to death, Jessie Misskelley, Jr. was sentenced to life imprisonment plus two 20-year sentences and Jason Baldwin was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Atom Egoyan's film dramatizes the true-life crime as it follows private detective Ron Lax (Colin Firth), who found DNA evidence linking Terry Hobbs (Alessandro Nivola), the stepfather of one of the three murdered boys, to material that was used to bind one of the young victims -- evidence that helped convince a judge to release the Three in 2011.

James Hamrick joins a cast that also includes Reese Witherspoon, Mireille Enos, Collette Wolfe, Kris Polaha, Kristopher Higgins, Amy Ryan and Dane DeHaan. Production commences in Georgia on June 25.