Hayden Panettiere sympathizes with convicted murderer Amanda Knox

Laura Donovan Contributor
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Amanda Knox is a “real person,” according to actress Hayden Panettiere, who will play the American tourist convicted of murder by an Italian court in the upcoming Lifetime network film, “Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy.”

“You know, she’s a real person,” Panettiere told The Sun. “She was a young girl who had dreams and aspirations and was going to Italy to go to school and to broaden her horizons and have experiences and meet new people. And I don’t think that guilty or innocent takes away from that.”

Knox was convicted for the 2007 killing and sexual assault of Meredith Kercher in Italy. Knox did not act alone, as her ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito assisted in Kercher’s murder and assault.  Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison while Sollecito got 25 years.

“This is such a vulnerable story, and specifically, Amanda was so needy,” Panettiere said.

Panettiere added that she has no opinion on the Knox debacle, but this statement doesn’t coincide with some of her other comments on the matter.

“My job was to play a girl who, regardless of what happened, was innocent in who she was,” Panettiere said. “She’s not a malicious girl. She didn’t have any intention to do this. This wasn’t an angry or dark girl…Whatever it was that happened that night, people’s lives were ruined. But it was my job to stay pretty true to form in who she seemed to be as a person in court and otherwise.”

In order to emulate Knox’s mannerisms and behavior, Panettiere studied footage of the convicted killer’s court rulings.

“She really tried to be as stoic and as brave as she could against all odds and I do commend her for it,” Panettiere said.

Panettiere hopes Kercher’s family members won’t be offended by the film’s portrayal of the case.

“I think, I hope, the family aren’t upset about the way it was put together,” Panettiere said.

But Kercher’s father John says the movie seems to cross the line.

“I’m surprised they have gone so far,” John Kircher said. “I was told the original brief of the film was to take it up to the point of the killing but not actually show the killing.”

John Kircher added, “It’s a bit unnerving when you have the lead actress Hayden Panettiere describing it as a ‘riveting story.'”

Knox’s lawyers have recently asked Lifetime not to air the movie, which is set to air Feb. 21.