The story of Amanda Knox, the U.S. exchange student convicted by an Italian trial jury of brutally murdering her roommate, is getting the Hollywood treatment as a TV movie with Heroes star Hayden Panettiere as Knox. Lifetime has greenlighted the project, tentatively titled The Amanda Knox Story, from reality producer Craig Piligian (Ghost Hunters). It will air in 2011.
Knox became an international object of fascination not just because of her wholesome good looks but also because of the unbelievably gruesome facts of the crime. The media also unleashed revelations about her sex life (her nickname became Foxy Knoxy) after the then 20-year-old and her Italian boyfriend were arrested in November 2007. They were accused of killing Knox’s roommate, 21-year-old Meredith Kercher who was found slain inside the duo’s cottage in the medieval Italian town of Perugia after what prosecutors said was a violent night fueled by sex and drugs. The charges were that Knox, her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, and Ivory Coast native Rudy Guede, sexually assaulted Kercher and Knox slashed the roommate’s throat with a knife. Prosecutors described Knox as a “coiled spring” filled with vengeance because her “prissy roommate” had criticized her grooming and sexual habits.
After an 11-month trial, Knox last December was sentenced to 26 years in prison. Sollecito received 25 years and, in a separate trial, Guede received 30 years. Knox maintains her innocence and has appealed. The case also drew political attention when U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell from Knox’s home state of Washington assailed the guilty verdict, claiming it raised “serious questions about the Italian justice system and whether anti-Americanism tainted this trial”.
With its foreign locale and attractive defendants and victim, bizarre crime involving sex and drugs, and an All-American girl at its center, Knox’s case was long expected to get the Hollywood treatment. A bevy of young actresses, from Lindsay Lohan and Megan Fox to Emily Blunt and Kristen Stewart, were touted to play Knox. From Pilgrim Films and TV, The Amanda Knox Story will be directed by Robert Dornhelm from a script by Wendy Battles. Piligian, Battles, Trevor Walton, and Craig Anderson will exec produce with Randy Sutter producing.