Jason Blum Enters A Wilderness Of Error

Adapting the book by Errol Morris

Jason Blum Enters A Wilderness Of Error

by Owen Williams |
Published on

Proving that his ubiquitous Blumhouse shingle isn't all about horror, Jason Blum* is now set to produce A Wilderness Of Error, based on a work of investigative journalism by Errol Morris{ =nofollow}. He'll be joined on the project by Rachael Horovitz, whose non-fiction-book-to-movie experience on Moneyball sounds pleasingly relevant.

Morris's book centres on the case of Jeffrey MacDonald, convicted in the States in 1979 of murdering his two daughters and his wife, who at the time was pregnant with their third child. A former US Special Forces medic, MacDonald was given three life sentences for the killings, to be served consecutively. He's still in jail in Maryland, with his next parole hearing not due until 2020.

But MacDonald always maintained his innocence, claiming that the murders, which happened in 1970, were committed by Manson-style cult members. A credible alternative suspect, hippy drug addict Helena Stoeckley even confessed at one point, but later withdrew that confession.

Whether MacDonald is telling the truth is still a subject that engenders much debate: some details of his story make little sense, and a previous book and screen adaptation, Joe McGinniss's Fatal Vision, concluded that MacDonald was guilty as charged.

The Wilderness Of Error that interests Morris, however, is the astonishingly compromised legal procedings that followed the crime. The first military trial against MacDonald failed to convict him because the crime scene had been so contaminated by its own inept investigators. And during the second civilian trial the prosecution illegally buried significant evidence that might have helped the defence.

There's clearly plenty for a film adaptation to pick over then. We could be looking at a courtroom drama, or an intricate Zodiac-style procedural, or a mixture of the two, or neither, but it should be a fascinating journey whatever the outcome. Could Morris even match the justice-correcting majesty of The Thin Blue Line? There are no details of screenwriters or other members of the production so far.

Morris's book is published by Penguin.

*Blum was also involved in Whiplash, lest we forget.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us