Reese Witherspoon and director Marc Webb are collaborating on This Above All, a new biopic about Fred Phelps’ granddaughter Megan Phelps-Roper, who broke from the anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church in 2012.
Raised on the WBC compound in Topeka, Phelps-Roper was a part of the church for two decades, and became one of its most powerful voices on social media. But interacting with opponents on Twitter led her to question the cause. “I just couldn’t keep up the charade,” she told The New Yorker in a 2015 profile serving as the film’s source material. “I couldn’t bring myself to do the things we were doing and say the things we were saying.”
— Megan Phelps-Roper (@meganphelps) August 28, 2017
In a TED Talk, Roper-Phelps opened up about protesting military funerals and picketing LGBT causes starting at age 5. “Life was framed as an epic spiritual battle between good and evil,” she explained. “The good was my church, and its members and the evil was everyone else.”
Webb (2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man) will direct, with Witherspoon co-producing. (She’s previously produced Wild, Gone Girl and HBO’s Big Little Lies.) It’s not clear if the 41-year-old actress will play Phelps-Roper, who is in her early 30s, as no casting announcements have been made yet.
Phelps-Roper is also publishing a memoir on Farrar, Straus and Giroux.