Reese Witherspoon is moving from the sunny shores of Monterey to the hateful halls of the Westboro Baptist Church. The actress is set to help produce This Above All, a new film based on the life of Megan Phelps-Roper, the former member who left the church in 2012. Alongside Witherspoon, Marc Webb is slated to direct and Nick Hornby will write the script.
The story will follow Phelps-Roper as she grew up in the church that became famous for protesting the funerals of gay murder victims, soldiers, AIDS victims, and others. Officially labelled as a hate group, the Westboro Baptist Church has become synonymous with their “god hates fags” slogan. It was also the place that Phelps-Roper called hope—she attended her first protest with her mom at the age of five and had protested for more than 20 years and became one of the most vocal members of the group on social media.
It wasn’t until she met and began talking to a Jewish blogger named David on Twitter that things began to change and, eventually, she left the church. “We’d started to see each other as human beings, and it changed the way we spoke to one another,” she explained at a TED Talk in February. “It took time, but eventually these conversations planted seeds of doubt in me.”
The movie has not yet found a star, but there are rumors Witherspoon could play the lead. While we’re all for a Witherspoon-led film about the notorious anti-gay church, taking another season of Big Little Lies away from us because of scheduling conflicts is a sin we wouldn’t forgive.