Murdered Fort Benning Soldier Inspires Movie

September 13, 2007

The story of a Fort Benning soldier's murder is opening in theaters Friday. Richard Davis was killed by three fellow soldiers in 2003, just days after returning from Iraq. Now, an Oscar award winning director has made a movie, based on Davis' case.

In the movie "In the Valley of Elah", Tommy Lee Jones plays a character named Hank Deerfield, who discovers his son has disappeared after returning from Iraq.

In reality, Deerfield is actually Lanny Davis, Richard Davis' father.

Academy award winning producer Paul Haggis took on the project after hearing the Davis' story.

"What paul did was take that idea and create a ficitonal story which basically tells the emotions of what happened to Richard Davis," said Cilla McCain, an author.

Cilla McCain has been working on a book about Richard's story for the last three years.

She and the Davis' were invited to the Toronto Film Festival last weekend to view the movie with the stars.

Once it was over, McCain says the reaction from the audience was moving.

"All these people who you think wouldn't care about anything but the next party, came up and hugged Lanny and Remy. They needed that because for so long they were treated like what happened didn't matter in the grand scheme of things," said McCain.

Though the movie is based on Lanny's search for answers, there are differences between the movie and Richard's case.

First, the names and places were changed in the movie, which was filmed in New Mexico and Tennessee.

Also, the movie alludes to a drug deal and bar fight that never actually happened to Richard.

"These are the kinds of things we want people to keep in mind while they're watching and Haggis and Warner brothers want you to keep in mind, they're not out to villify the victim," said McCain.

The producers and stars of the movie have said this is an anti-war movie. They say it shows how veterans are being treated when they return from war.

Cilla McCain is also simultaneously working on a book and documentary about Richard Davis' murder, with Paul Haggis and Bill Vanderkloot.

The documentary will be filmed here in Columbus and at Fort Benning, and is expected to be released with the book next February.