Amanda Knox Felt Ill When She Saw Herself Portrayed in New Movie

Knox was surprised to see movie trailer on an Italian newscast.

February 7, 2011, 11:21 AM

PERUGIA, Italy Feb. 7, 2011— -- Amanda Knox was shocked and hyperventilating when she saw a TV newscast in her Italian prison cell this weekend about Hayden Panetierre playing her in the Lifetime TV movie "Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy."

The news report included disturbing clips from a movie trailer for the film, which includes a gritty portrayal of the murder of Knox's British roommate Meredith Kercher as well as sex scenes.

Knox's stepfather Chris Mellas told ABC News that in her weekly phone call home, Knox was emotional and said, "I was physically ill when I saw the images. I thought I was going to throw up."

Knox, who was 20 at the time of the murder, explained how strange it was to see a "girl who looked like her, dressed like her, playing her life," the stepfather said.

Knox, who is now 23, fought back tears during the phone call, explaining her frustration with having no control over her life and how her life is being portrayed. Her family said she is not aware of the magnitude of the press surrounding her life, and that she avoids watching television and readings newspapers.

Knox's lawyers faxed, emailed and couriered Lifetime TV a formal complaint on Feb. 3. If Lifetime doesn't respond by Feb. 10, Knox's lawyers will take legal action, the complaint states.

The family of Amanda Knox tried to get Panettiere to meet with the imprisoned American before starring in the new Lifetime movie.

A trailer and images from a press screener for the Lifetime channel movie, which airs Feb. 21, debuted on the Internet this week and has upset both Knox's family as well as the family of Meredith Kercher, who Knox was convicted of killing on Nov. 1, 2007.

Video from the movie trailer indicates there are graphic scenes in the movie. One quick segment shows Kercher stripped down to her bra, pinned to the floor and screaming as she is groped by the men playing Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Guede, two men convicted along with Knox in the killing.

The trailer shows Knox, portrayed by Panettiere, in a steamy bed scene with Sollecito. At one point the Italian prosecutor states ominously, "Under the angel face, she is capable of anything."

Amanda Knox's stepfather, who visited with her in her Italian prison last week, said the family objects to the portrayal of Amanda in the movie.

"We, quite some time back, asked Hayden to visit Amanda, but they never got back to us after several conversations," Mellas said.

Mellas told "Good Morning America" today, "This thing with Lifetime, I think, is them doing nothing more than trying to make a buck. And it's disgusting. It's not appropriate to profit off other people's pain."

Amanda Knox Surprised to See Trailer For a Movie About Her Life

The stepfather said the family has made their objections known to the movie's producers.

"We have formalized our complaint against Lifetime," Mellas said. The family's complaint was also sent to YouTube and Google which are carrying the movie trailer.

Lifetime, which is owned in part by NBC Universal, Hearst and Disney, the parent company of ABC News, said they have not received the complaint.

"We have to act to protect Amanda, given the biased nature of the content in the trailer, and the unknown, and potentially harmful content of the actual film. The movie harms Amanda's presumption of innocence as afforded her by the Italian constitution," Mellas said.

"It is ill timed and inappropriate in many ways, so we have no other choice but to protest its airing," Mellas said.

Knox, sentenced to 26 years in prison, and Sollecito, sentenced to 25 years, are appealing their convictions. Guede's appeal has already been rejected, and he was sentenced to 16 years.

Kercher's family was also taken aback by the trailer.

Kercher's father, John Kercher, told the London Sun that Kercher's mother Arline can't bear to watch the preview and he found it upsetting.

"Your imagination runs riot as it is about what happened," John Kercher told the newspaper. "But to actually see it like this is very distressing. The scenes are absolutely horrific.

"It's awful what these film people have done," he said.

"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," the father said.

John Kercher wants the trailer pulled from the Internet.

Arline Kercher is upset by everything about the film.

Amanda Knox Movie Angers Families of Knox and Meredith Kercher

"I said a few months back I didn't understand why the film was called Amanda Knox when my daughter was the victim," she told the Sun.

John Kercher has lashed out before about the attention that Knox has received. When she began her appeal last year wrote in a British newspaper that he regretted that the woman convicted of killing his daughter had become a "minor celebrity."

Besides the movie, several books have been written about Knox. The Lifetime move is airs on February 21st in the United States.

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