Reese Witherspoon is signed on to a project about the life of Megan Phelps-Roper, the granddaughter of Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps.
The film, titled “This Above All,” will focus on Phelps-Roper’s life as a member of the anti-gay hate group, according to Variety. Phelps-Roper, who is the daughter of WBC’s spokesperson Shirley Phelps-Roper, grew up in the church, but left with her sister in 2012 and was ultimately excommunicated from her family.
Nick Hornby, who has said her story “says so much about so many things in contemporary America,” will write the screenplay. Marc Webb will direct. Witherspoon is apparently set to co-produce. There are rumors she will also star in the movie.
In a 2013 blog on Medium, she explained the mentality of her family’s Topeka, Kansas-based group.
In a city in a state in the center of a country lives a group of people who believe they are the center of the universe; they know Right and Wrong, and they are Right. They work hard and go to school and get married and have kids who they take to church and teach that continually protesting the lives, deaths, and daily activities of The World is the only genuine statement of compassion that a God-loving human can sincerely make. As parents, they are attentive and engaged, and the children learn their lessons well.
The 31-year-old was introduced to that hateful mentality as a child and began picketing as young as 5 years old. As an adult, she joined Twitter and began tweeting the WBC’s hateful gospel, but was introduced to opponents at the same time. On Twitter she met a Jewish blogger named David, who helped change it all.
“We’d started to see each other as human beings, and it changed the way we spoke to one another,” she said during a TED Talk in February. “It took time, but eventually these conversations planted seeds of doubt in me.”
A rep for Witherspoon was not immediately available for further comment.