NWU Student Stars in Major Motion Picture "Devil's Knot"

NWU sophomore James Hamrick plays Damien Echols in the major motion picture "Devil's Knot."
Hamrick plays Marius in the NWU theatre production, Les Miserables."

James Hamrick could be walking the red carpet on May 3, but he’s opted for the McDonald Theatre stage instead where he plays Marius in the musical sensation, “Lés Miserables.”

Meanwhile actors Reese Witherspoon and Colin Firth are in Little Rock, Ark., where they are premiering the major motion picture, “Devil’s Knot.”

Hamrick, a sophomore theatre major from Houston, Texas, also stars in the movie as teenager Damien Echols.

“Devil’s Knot” is a crime drama thriller and true story about three teenagers known as the “West Memphis Three.” The teens were convicted for killing three young boys in West Memphis, Ark., and subsequently sentenced to prison. The community and police department were convinced the murders were the work of a satanic cult, led by Echols. The teens maintained their innocence and were released from prison in 2011 after a new trial with new evidence lent to their credibility of innocence.

The movie opens May 3 in Little Rock and nationwide on May 9.

“Working with the other actors was very educational and interesting. They are a lot of fun to work with,” said Hamrick. “Acting is a lot of give and take, and getting to work with people who are really experienced and know what they’re doing helped me act at a higher level.”

Hamrick had little experience in filmmaking when he was cast in the picture in the summer of 2012, but had performed in many high school shows and Nebraska Wesleyan theatre productions and cabarets.

Hamrick said he never would have reached this level of acting without the education and experiences he’s had at NWU.

“I couldn’t have done any of this without an NWU education,” he said. “Our theatre department prepares you to be a professional in the business. If I hadn’t had experience in this department I wouldn’t have understood what was going on around me.”

Hamrick had the option to quit school and continue professional acting. He continues to stay in touch with film industry representatives and has entertained some auditions. But for now, he has decided to focus on finishing his degree. He wants to spend more time preparing himself for a future career in acting before he jumps back into it again, he said.

Back on the McDonald Theatre stage, Hamrick has performed this year in “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Lés Miserables.”

Hamrick said his future plans change often, but he’s hopeful he can move to New York City and pursue a master’s degree after graduating from Nebraska Wesleyan in 2016.

“After seeing the world, I know what I want to get out of my education and what I need to work on while I’m here,” he said.