Before Amanda Knox went on trial in Italy, she was just an American college kid from Seattle living abroad -- your classic "stranger in a strange land" nobody. Now Amazon is littered with books about her murder conviction. YouTube is filled with videos both supporting and demonizing her. And tonight Lifetime will air an Amanda Knox movie, starring none other than Hayden Panettierre.
In a disturbing irony, Amanda Knox is simultaneously living everyone's nightmare and their dream. She's in jail for a murder conviction, but she's a nobody who is also an overnight celebrity. The question is why.
Not why the movie or the books. That answer is simple -- money. If people want to read and watch, there's always someone lining up to meet demand. But why will people settle down in front of their televisions tonight to watch Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy? What about a University of Washington language student living abroad in Perugia, Italy has made her a celebrity? Why has this murder captured America?
It could be merely that an American was put on trial abroad and convicted of murder by Italian courts rather than American. There's a tendency, for sure, in American to distrust the justice system of countries other than our own -- hence frequent demands that fugitives captured abroad be returned to American soil for trial despite the cost we as a country incur for a criminal's imprisonment. A host of the books already out there claim a corrupt justice system put Knox in jail, not guilt.
Then there are the juicy details. America loves nothing more than a love triangle (see also fascination with the Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt story years and several children after Brad made the jump to Angie). And Knox's tale provides a tantalizing story in all its variations. The court claimed Knox, boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and another man named Randy Guede, were involved in a sexual game as they killed Knox's roommate Meredith Kercher.
Finally, there are Knox's parents, sympathetic figures as parents, for one, but also as Americans, stuck dealing with a daughter in an Italian jail. Whether Knox is guilty or not, the gut feeling is that parents should stand by their kids. So it's hard to stomach the way Curt Knox and Edda Mellas have been battered around. Now they face their own legal troubles -- charged with libel for acting as parents do, defending their daughter.
Each alone wouldn't make for a good movie, but brought together, and this could be a compelling story -- especially with Panettierre and Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden as the stars. It bears remembering that the Lifetime movie depiction tonight won't be the "true story" but a movie version. It's nothing like this new celeb's "real" life. It airs at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. central.
Will you be watching? Why do you find Amanda Knox so fascinating?
Image via Lifetime