Lifetime is slated to premiere "The Amanda Knox Story" later this month, even as Knox's family is taking legal measures to try to prevent its airing because they feel it will hurt the appeal that is currently in the works on the murder trial. Now ETonline talks to Hayden Panettiere, who plays Knox in the film, to get her take on the media frenzy surrounding the project.
"She was so amazingly shocked by [the trailer for the movie]," Knox's stepfather Chris Mellas recently told ABC News. "She said she literally started hyperventilating. She felt like she was going to throw up."
So far, the family is reacting to trailers that have been posted online -- according to a spokesperson for Lifetime, there are no plans presently to sell the movie to Italy -- without having seeing the entire film. Does Panettiere think that would possibly change their mind?
"It is very fact driven and Lifetime is great with doing things like that and fact checking," Panettiere tells ETonline. "I don't think there is anything in there that would sway an opinion or have any impact negatively or positively on her appeal. I think if the family saw it, they would probably be much more relaxed then they are about it now. Maybe the parents would. I don't know if she would or not. I don't know if that would be a good idea to have to relive the whole experience of it. That is up to her."
Panettiere, who says she wasn't aware of the case until she was cast in the role because at the time of the murder and the trial she was working long hours on "Heroes" and not paying attention to the news, says it is true that Knox's family invited her to meet Knox.
"She only has two days of the week that she gets visitors," Panettiere says. "I would have had to go in the middle of filming to a different city, because we were in Rome, and I would have had to go with her family to do that. She only gets to see her family for two days, so to impede on that didn't seem like the right thing to do."
Another reason that the meeting didn't take place, according to Panettiere, is that there were those who feared that the actress would have been influenced by Knox, who might have asked her not to do the film.
"To which I would respond: 'Look, they are going to see this film whether it is me playing it or not. At least I can sit in front of you and say I will do my best to do you justice,'" Panettiere says.
As for whether or not she formed an opinion as to Knox's innocence or guilt, Panettiere indicates that it depended what day of the week it was and, even at the end, she had not made a final decision.
"It was very interesting to play a character where you didn't know if she was guilty or innocent," she says. "My job was to be as innocent as I could be."
"The Amanda Knox Story" premieres on Monday, Feb. 21 at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.