The family of a British murder victim have launched a scathing attack on Hayden Panettiere's "horrific" and "distressing" new film about their daughter's killer.
In the new TV film, the Heroes star plays American college student Amanda Knox, who was sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing her roommate, Meredith Kercher, back in 2007. The movie is based on Knox's sensational Italian murder trial and previews have now been released ahead of its February 21st airing date, but the footage has already drawn complaints from the Kercher family.
Kercher's father John has spoken out about the film, insisting a scene which shows an actress playing his daughter screaming in terror as she is pinned down by her killers is too disturbing for TV.
He tells Britain's The Sun, "Your imagination runs riot as it is about what happened. But to actually see it like this is very distressing. The scenes are absolutely horrific. It's awful what these film people have done. I'm surprised they have gone so far. I was told the original brief of the film was to take it up to the point of the killing but not actually show the killing. It's obvious from these pictures they are showing the killing."
"I have asked and would hope the pictures are withdrawn from the internet. Not only have they upset me and my family but they are also in extreme danger of being sued by the convicted people's lawyers."
"In Italy you are regarded as still not being completely convicted until you have had two appeals. If these people win their appeals, which I hope they won't, then they could sue the makers. I said a few months back I didn't understand why the film was called Amanda Knox when my daughter was the victim."
Meanwhile, Kercher's mom Arline reveals she is too traumatized to even watch the previews: "I really don't want to look. It's shocking... I don't understand how a film can be made when there is an appeal to be heard. It also brings this all up again for us which is always very hard."
Knox is currently appealing her conviction and on Thursday, her lawyer threatened legal action if the film is released.