Earlier this year, Hayden Panettiere brought the Amanda Knox case to the small screen by starring in the Lifetime movie Amanda Knox: Murder in Italy, which revolved around the story of an Italian jury finding the Seattle native guilty of murdering her British roommate. The film was very controversial, since the Knox family felt it could potentially sway the court’s decision on their daughter’s case (which was still open when the movie aired). But now that Knox appealed her guilty verdict and was found not guilty, Panettiere is speaking out about her excitement over Amanda’s return to the U.S. The actress claims, “Having played her and in a way walked a mile in her shoes, I do feel a certain connection with her and I would be lying if I said it wasn’t exciting to see a young girl get a second chance at life so I hope she makes the most of that.” The Heroes star didn’t specify if she thought Knox was innocent or guilty, but admits she’s just happy to see her reuniting with her family. “It is such a complicated case, there is so much that doesn’t make sense and that doesn’t add up, but she has a second shot at life and that is great,” she adds.
Perhaps Panettiere’s support for Knox stems from not wanting to be sued for the way she portrayed the American college student in the movie, which the Knox family deemed inaccurate. According to TMZ, there is still a lawsuit pending in Italy to remove the movie completely from the airwaves, and Lifetime made edits to the film to make note of Knox’s overturned murder conviction. But it might all be too little too late: Amanda’s father, Curt Knox, remains bitter about the whole situation and states, “The only reason I saw the movie was to write down all the irregularities, what was wrong with it, and provide it to our attorneys because it was – excuse my French – bulls**t. There is a law in Italy that you cannot present information whether in book form or video form while there is an open trial. A clear breaking of the law there. The character portrayal of her in that movie was so wrong it could have potentially had an impact of the results and what people’s perspective of her is.” Panettiere may still need to suck up a little bit more because it looks like she’s not out of the woods just yet.