Reese Witherspoon To Produce Westboro Baptist Biopic

Variety reports:

Marc Webb has come on board to direct the upcoming feature film “This Above All,” based on the true-life story of Megan Phelps-Roper, former member of the infamous Westboro Baptist Church. Producers are Dawn Ostroff and Jeremy Steckler of Condé Nast Entertainment, Reese Witherspoon, Bruna Papandrea for Made Up Stories, Marc Webb and River Road Entertainment’s Bill Pohlad. River Road will finance.

The Topeka, Kan., church is one of the nation’s most recognized hate groups, best known its anti-gay rhetoric. The film is being adapted by Nick Hornby from Adrian Chen’s 2015 article for The New Yorker and from Phelps-Roper’s upcoming memoir. Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, founder of the Westboro Baptist Church. She grew up espousing the teachings of her family, preaching God’s power and damning those who sinned.

  • No More GOP.

    Surely she could find a more compelling role… “Legally Brunette” or something?

    • Gustav2

      It is illegal for a white woman to be a brunette in California.

      • Stephen Elliot Phillips

        It sure is on fox news

        • Tomcat

          Beat me to it.

        • Mikey

          weirdly, at my Dentist’s office too!
          My dentist (a woman) is blonde, and every, single, other, person in the office is blonde as well! If they weren’t all so darned nice it would be like walking in on the Midwich Cuckoos’ Dental Clinique.

      • Mike_in_the_Tundra

        And if they live until they’re 100, they’ll never be gray.

      • Dean Cameron

        It’s legal, but you have to move to the Eastside.

      • JCF


        [Yes, that’s Yours Truly. A zillion years ago, when I was still presenting-as-female.]

  • Jonathan Smith
  • Todd20036

    Let’s make a film about the church that protested Matthew Shepard funeral and said gays deserve to die of AIDS

    That’ll make money!

  • bkmn

    How long before the WBC klan are suing the producers over this – trying to get another court payout to keep them afloat?

  • Eric Lewis

    Who’s the audience for this ?

    • Daveed_WOW

      Who IS NOT the audience for America’s Sweetheart?

  • Treant
    • Mikey

      ah, the punster in you!

  • Silver Badger

    Watch the film clip people. It is worth your time and explains much.

    • i agree. i’m 6 minutes in, and it’s surprisingly heartfelt.

    • Pip

      I watched it about a month, or so, ago. She managed to overcome her brainwashing and actually listen to people. I thought that TED Talk was pretty darned good actually.

      • Robert Johnson

        Lots of wisdom in her TED talk.

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    • David

      I found it compelling as well. I would have had very little interest in seeing a movie had I not watched the Ted talk.

    • Cuberly

      Roper has quite a few vids out there. She’s quite inspirational really.

    • VodkaAndPolitics

      It’s a beautiful clip, and I really like her, but here’s the thing… Westboro Baptist has fewer than 30 members, most of them family. The only reason they have any power at all is because they continue to get media coverage. If we just ignored them, they’d be like any other cult confined to a secretive compound and there’d be no audience for their hate.

      • Joseph Miceli

        Again, you’ve made my argument for bringing back shunning for me.

      • robindaybird

        For a time they managed to completely cowed the Topeka police into letting them run wild

      • Andymac3

        They aren’t the only religious sect and i’m sure she doesn’t speak publicly in the hope of rescuing people from her family, but also other people in other cults who by the power of the net may hear her message and realize that there is a way out. Westboro have a name that most people recognize and it is good to hear that the children brought up in that environment do have a chance of leaving that hate club.

    • smokes70

      If you’ve got more time… check out her interview on the Joe Rogan podcast.

  • Rex

    “Legally Baptist” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

    • jmax

      “Sweet Home Kansas”?

  • bambinoitaliano

    She is bit late if she think WBC is the craziest subject she can make into a movie.

  • Skeptical_Inquirer

    I am always happy when people walk away from brainwashing.

  • Natty Enquirer

    God hates moviegoers.

    • Rex

      But he’s cool with Netflix and chill, right?

      • Natty Enquirer

        Too busy whipping up the next hurricane to ask, but I’ll check with him tomorrow.

  • Secure

    River Road produced Brokeback Mountain.

  • bambinoitaliano

    Without the eye candy of that ex husband of hers it’s going to be a tough sell.

  • Stephen Elliot Phillips

    I wish reese would give us specifics on ryan phillippe…..
    inquiring minds need porn

    • Daveed_WOW

      The 00’s called. They want their hunk back.

      • Stephen Elliot Phillips

        lol. still a hunk.

  • Steven B

    WOW! This woman is has wisdom and insight beyond her years. What a remarkable story and a remarkable woman. Take the time to watch the video link included by Joe

  • greenmanTN

    I linked that TED talk clip here just a few weeks back. It’s actually very good, explains how and why she had to leave WBC, and suggests ways of engaging with others who have beliefs opposite yours in a way that offers a possibility of dialogue and actually changing people’s minds.

    She also has a very soothing voice- would be good as a reader for audio books.

    • JWC

      WBC is a ‘brand” The talk gave an example that no matter what your brand may be there is a way to work around it I suppose it implements to some degree “Walk a mile in my shoes” or “How would i like to be treated the way I reat others”

  • Rebecca Gardner

    WOW! That TED talk is something everyone needs to watch and apply to their lives.

    • JWC

      Noting those 4 pertinant question

  • David

    Having grown up in Kansas City (an hour or so from Topeka) I’ve always kind of thought that the WBC, by being as repugnant as they’ve always been, has had the unintended consequence of actually helping the fight for LGBT equality.

    • JWC

      sometimes the bad seed can produce a beautiful flower

    • Uncle Mark

      When people (possessing any sympathy or decency) saw the horribly cruel lengths these cult members went to torment the bereaving, they started sympathizing with us. When WBC expanded their insanity to tormenting dead soldiers’ families, they only helped our cause more. I have little doubt that when many “Christian” organizations failed to repudiate the WBC, a number of people saw the hypocrisy…especially the younger generations…and left their churches, not in droves, but enough to accelerate the trend.

    • bambinoitaliano

      Our actions good or bad generate the butterfly effect.

  • AtticusP

    I hope they cast Whoopi Goldberg as the Reverend Fred Phelps.

    • JWC

      Oh the I ROOONEEEE

  • Lazycrockett
    • Pip

      That’s floating hell on earth right there, that’s what that is.

    • PickyPecker

      i saw a piece on this earlier on one of the news programs. Evidently the ant colonies cling to each other and take turns being submurged. Survival.

      • RaygunsGoZap

        I learned the same thing watching Ant-Man!

    • Cuberly

      Get the soap!

      “Really, your best bet is to hit their rafts with soapy water, which breaks up the ants’ waxy covering and drowns them.”

      • Pip

        Whatever helps kill those bastards! I fell into a nest of them when I was 9 years old. My leg went right through the ground all the way up to my hip. By the time folks were able to pull me out my leg was covered in them. I can still feel the pain when I think about it. Those were the worst two weeks of my life, as I recovered from high fevers and swelling. So I take pleasure in seeing them die.

        • Cuberly

          OMG, that sounds horrible. Yikes, traumatizing indeed.

    • The_Wretched

      Maybe they’ll fight and take care of each other or the population density will be too high and they’ll have a die off phase.

    • Tomcat

      Someone better spray gas on them before they start digging in.

      • Tomcat

        Kills better than any ant killer.

    • Ken M

      “What a turnout” Any way we could drop a bag on the WH, maybe the new Rose Garden?

      • Uncle Mark

        When & where is the next rally?

      • Halou

        Ant President has the biggest inauguration crowd. Period.

  • Mikey

    “it’s hard because righteous indignation, that sense of certainty that ours is the right side”, isn’t “hard” when your side and your sense of certainty means being open to others, means not pre-judging, and not condemning others for things beyond their control, means not attacking people simply for who they are.

    I’m sorry, for what she’s gone through, but her words are almost the equivalent of Trump’s “on both sides” rhetoric.

    The WBC is wrong, they are evil.
    Those who oppose them are right. Period. There is no question there, no uncertainty, and no “righteous indignation”.
    It’s much the same as [email protected] vs those who oppose [email protected] If you are the former, you are wrong, you are evil, you are hatred incarnate.
    If you are the latter, you stand on the righteous side of history.

  • MBear

    Escaped hater trying to capitalise on her fame as a hater. Yawn

  • barrixines

    She’s undoubtedly an inspirational speaker but I find her less than completely honest. Part of her conversion which is there in the narrative but not made explicit is that she fell in love with the guy she was arguing with. We all do crazy shit for love now and then.

    Also missing is a sense of justice. She and her family did unimaginably cruel things to many people. They owe her nothing to aid her enlightenment. She should carry their scorn and anger forever.

    • Capritaur

      What’s better to disillusion one of hate than love?

      • barrixines

        There are women queueing up to marry Charles Manson. Happy pants can convince you of most positions.

    • The_Wretched

      I think you’re right on the basis of the talk but might be undervaluing the mental difficulty of being physically (and maybe sexually i cant remember) by the leader of the clan – her father.

      • barrixines

        Yes – I am not really trying to be on her case. I just found the talk slightly nice kindergarten lady talking about how we should all get along. And as Mikey said elsewhere in the thread – it does smack of the kind of equivocation we’ve been hearing from Trump.

        I get the feeling a bit too that the people she was engaging with on Twitter were the ones who could deal with the matter abstractly. I really don’t think her recipe for communication adequately addresses directly the people she hurt.

    • JWC

      Would you be willing to be judged similarily? I would think that if your environment is less than perfect you have 2 choices; wallow in it or see it for what it is and improve your lot from that

  • Halou

    What are the odds the group picket the film’s premier screening?

  • smokes70

    For a more in depth one… listen to the Joe Rogan podcast where she was the guest… it’s really good…

  • Ken Berry

    You will go to jail for a very long time for tying a child’s body up. Fuck with their minds, and you’re home free. That woman’s mother should be jailed for child abuse for the rest of her life.

  • This is why I tend to try to respond with debate and reason rather than anger and malice. People can change. If one can reject the clutches of the cult of Westboro, anything’s possible.

  • ColdCountry

    A very, very impressive young woman. Her quest for understanding, and her willingness to engage “the enemy” in civil dialogue is something, I fear, I can only aspire to achieve.