Despite controversy and legal hurtles surrounding the upcoming premiere of the Lifetime original film "Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy," star Hayden Panettiere, who plays Knox, is confident in the finished product.
"The way the film was put together and the way it was done, it's really done in a wonderful way. It's very fact driven, very fact based," the actress told OnTheRedCarpet.com in a satellite interview recently. The made-for-television movie is set to debut on Monday, February 21. "I understand there's controversy around it is done in an wonderful way and it doesn't incriminate her or change anyone's mind when it comes to court."
The film is based off the story of American student Amanda Knox, who is serving a 26-year jail term sentence in connection with the murder of her roommate. In 2009, Knox and ex-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of sexually assaulting and murdering her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in the apartment the two girls shared in the Italian city of Perugia.
Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison; Sollecito 25 years, however, both deny wrongdoing and their appeals trial is under way.
ABC News reports that Knox's stepfather said she saw part of the film on television and was shocked. She told him she was hyperventilating and she felt she was going to throw up.
"We, quite some time back, asked Hayden to visit Amanda, but they never got back to us after several conversations," he told the network. "This thing with Lifetime, I think, is them doing nothing more than trying to make a buck. And it's disgusting. It's not appropriate to profit off other people's pain."
Panettiere told OnTheRedCarpet.com that she tried to set up a visit with Knox but "it just didn't pan out."
"I wanted to and then she didn't want to and then she wanted to. Then it was in the middle of filming and she only has two days with her family. I just didn't want to impede," the actress added. "I definitely would've loved to meet her."
As for the Knox family's worry about the film influencing public opinion of Knox, Panettiere says, "It's done in a way that genuinely does not make the audience go or think that she's guilty."
Lifetime is owned in part by Disney, the parent company of OnTheRedCarpet.com.