Hayden Panettiere is defending her latest project, “Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy,” which has been the subject of outrage.
In the Lifetime TV movie, which debuts on Monday night, Hayden plays Knox, the American student convicted of murdering her British roommate, Meredith Kercher, in Perugia, Italy in 2009. Knox’s former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also convicted of the murder. Knox herself, her family and Meredith Kercher’s family have all expressed anger over the Lifetime movie.
The actress stopped by Access Hollywood Live on Monday and spoke candidly about the controversial movie.
“The way in which this film is done, it’s done very tastefully. It’s done in a very classy way, there’s nothing in it that would incriminate her, nothing that would sway opinions in court, when it came to her appeal,” Hayden told Billy Bush and Kit Hoover.
Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison and Sollecito was given 25 years behind bars. Both deny any wrongdoing and their appeals trial is under way. They are both currently in jail in Italy.
“It seems like they do show her getting murdered, but you never see her do it, and it’s very obviously an idea of what could have happened and not necessarily what did happen,” Hayden said of the movie’s more graphic scenes.
The 21-year-old former “Heroes” star said she was easily drawn in to playing the real life headline-maker.
“It’s just one of those stories, it’s riveting, you just want to know so much about it and to play somebody who is going through this, an actual person, is just a challenge that I was thrilled to take,” she continued.
Does Hayden believe that Knox is innocent?
“I believe that she very well could be. I believe that she very well could have been there, there’s a lot of sides of the story… there are things that just don’t add up,” she told Billy and Kit. “The fact that there are three people involved here, the fact that nobody has pointed fingers at anyone… I don’t think anyone will know, unless one of them comes out and says, ‘I did it.’”
Hayden also spoke to Billy and Kit about the man in her life, Ukranian boxing star Wladimir Klitschko, who towers above the petite actress at 6 ft. 6 in.
“We met, a friend of ours did a book, a coffee table book, and the proceeds went to genocide [relief]. So, he did a picture in it and I did a picture in it,” she said, describing their first meeting. “It was, ‘You’re huge!’ ‘You’re tiny,’ and that’s a conversation starter.”
Hayden told Billy and Kit that watching her boyfriend in the ring is a mix of emotions.
“I’m like standing up, screaming, out of my seat, ‘Hit him! Come on!’” Hayden said with a smile. “I get very, very, into it.”
Adding, “It’s takes at least a year off of my life, stress-wise.”
“Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy” airs tonight on Lifetime at 9 PM ET.