Former Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere was gifted with the ‘butter wouldn’t melt’ All American good looks, so her casting in ‘The Amanda Knox Story‘ would seem rather fitting from a far. Though it’s a project that will bring with it an enormous spotlight on the young actress, not only on her moral judgement in playing a convicted killer when the trial is still so fresh in our minds (and indeed Knox right now appealing her 26 year sentence) but for her acting talent too, as it will stretch her at least four notches more than the Blonde Cheerleader she’s perfected right now.
Announced today by Deadline, Panettiere will lead Lifetime’s t.v. adaptation of the events that led an Italian jury to convict the American exchange student, dubbed “Foxy Knoxy” for her sexuality, of the brutal murder of her British roomate Meredith Kircher nearly three years ago. A murder that she is convicted of committing at just 20 years of age with her two accomplishes – Italian boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede.
Ghost Hunters reality producer Craig Piligian is developing the t.v. movie from a script by ‘Law and Order’s’ Wendy Battles, with Austrian born t.v. helmer Robert Dornhelm to direct. A 2011 screen date is planned.
More outlandish than her regular run-of-the-mill episode of Law & Order, Battles has had to put together a screenplay involving the exotic and usually quiet Medieval Peruggia locale that was home to a Polanski style real-life horror story of the uttermost grotesque. There’s lurid accounts of sex, drugs and an unimaginable murder which left an innocent young Brit in a foreign county dead and an alluring, attractive and seemingly sweet convicted killer at the center. A murderer who would flirt with men at her trial and either seemed blissfully unaware of the magnitude of the situation, or truly believed she was innocent and would soon be freed.
Because of all the global media attention surrounding Knox, we’ve been anticipating some kind of screen rendering of the events for some time now, though we always presumed it would be after Knox’s appeal. Making a movie on it now, as the story is still untold seems contentious – especially as the verdict itself was so controversial. Maria Cantwell, the U.S. Senator from Knox’s home state of Washington said convicting Knox of the murder raised “serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial”.
Speaking as someone who followed the trial quite closely, I’m not particularly interested in seeing a re-enactment of the despicable night in question – or even one that finds Knox as the main character. More compelling, to me, would be a movie about the piecing together of the events from the detective point of view as they came up with the conclusion of the most horrific murder, with a seemingly sweet young girl standing accused.