Panettiere Plays Amanda Knox!

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GUIDING LIGHT's Hayden Panettiere (Lizzie) has landed a movie that has been ripped right from the headlines! Later this month, she'll be starring in the title role in the Lifetime TV original film Amanda Knox: Murder On Trial In Italy, opposite Marcia Gay Harden as her mother, Edda. This thrilling biopic details the real-life story of the American student who was tried and convicted last year of the brutal stabbing of her British flatmate, Meredith Kercher, in Italy. "I just saw it for the first time -- I loved it! It's beautifully done," Panettiere reveals. "It definitely maintains the balance that I was hoping for of not really knowing whether she was innocent or guilty."

While Panettiere herself couldn't decide whether Knox had committed the crime, she was deeply affected by what the jury and the public did with the information. "[Amanda] was convicted of killing her roommate and sentenced to 26 years in an Italian prison," the actress explains. "The media frenzy that circled this and what they turned this girl into was unbelievable. They took everything about her that was youthful, innocent, and pure and just used it against her."

For more on the film, which airs Monday, February 21, at 9 p.m. EST, check out our interview with Panettiere in the new CBS issue of Soaps In Depth, on sale Monday, February 14!

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