State

Former Westboro Baptist member subject of upcoming movie

Megan Phelps-Roper left Westboro Baptist Church in 2012. Now, a movie is being made about her life.
Megan Phelps-Roper left Westboro Baptist Church in 2012. Now, a movie is being made about her life. Screenshot

It’s been nearly five years since Megan Phelps-Roper left the Westboro Baptist Church.

Now, a film about her life is in the works – with Reese Witherspoon, screenwriter Nick Hornby, “Gone Girl” producer Bruna Papandrea, “The Amazing Spider-Man” director Marc Webb and “12 Years a Slave” producer Bill Pohlad.

Phelps-Roper confirmed the news and the people involved in a Facebook post Monday. She linked to a Hollywood Reporter article about the film, which will be called “This Above All.”

Webb will direct the film while Hornby will write the screenplay based on an upcoming memoir by Phelps-Roper and a 2015 article in the New Yorker by Adrian Chen.

“This has been percolating for a year and a half, and is still utterly unbelievable!” Phelps-Roper wrote on Facebook.

Phelps-Roper is the granddaughter of Fred Phelps, founder of Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka. The small church gained notoriety for picketing the funerals of soldiers and saying natural disasters and 9/11 were the result of God’s wrath about homosexuality.

Phelps-Roper grew up in the church, picketing her first military funeral at the age of 19, according to The New Yorker. She became one of the church’s most well-known members with an active Twitter presence.

On Twitter, she began to develop relationships with the very people Westboro Baptist Church condemned.

By 2012, Phelps-Roper was beginning to feel outrage as the church cut out female leadership, treated her “like a child” and expelled a cousin without going through their usual process.

“It stopped feeling like this larger-than-life divine institution ordained and led by God, and more like the sniping and sordid activity of men who wanted to be in control,” Phelps-Roper told the New Yorker.

In November 2012, Phelps-Roper and her sister Grace left Westboro.

Phelps-Roper now educates on topics related to extremism, bullying and empathy, according to her Facebook profile. She gave a TED Talk earlier this year, and said Monday that she recently finished the first draft of her memoir.

Katherine Burgess: 316-268-6400, @KathsBurgess

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