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Hayden Panettiere Deals With 'Harsh' Spotlight of Playing Convicted Killer Amanda Knox

Hayden Panettiere
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

'Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy' is due to air on Lifetime Monday despite threats to block it from Knox’s legal team.

Heroes star Hayden Panettiere is dealing with the firestorm of appearing in  the controversial Lifetime movie Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy.

The show will air Monday evening despite threats from Amanda Knox's legal team to block the airing of the movie because it may affect plans to appeal her murder conviction.

"I've definitely gotten harsh questions," Panettiere told the Los Angeles Times about some people’s reaction to the role. "It's nothing that would incriminate her or sway a judge's opinion of her in a court of law. That's the main concern here."

Knox, the seemingly All-American student abroad studying in Italy, was charged in December 2009 with the murder of her roommate, Meredith Kercher, in 2007. The trial became an international sensation.

Knox is serving a 26-year sentence in an Italian prison but is appealing her conviction. A jury is due to reconvene March 12 in light of some newly introduced forensic evidence.

Even when researching her character, Panettiere said she had no opinion whether Knox was guilty or innocent. "I couldn't even tell you, because I haven't decided," she said. "The approach I had to take was that even if she was guilty, she had convinced herself she was innocent."

The actress also said she "cares about" the fate of Amanda Knox.

"To a certain degree, guilty or innocent, I want to see her get out and be able to live the rest of her life," said Panettiere. "She's someone that I root for."