Thursday, September 23, 2010

Entertainment Industry Buzz That Curt Knox And Edda Mellas Might Be Connected To Distasteful Movie

Posted by Peter Quennell

[joint images of Panetierre and Knox posted yesterday by Huffington Post]

We’ve heard buzz from a couple of sources in NYC that Amanda Knox’s parents might have had a hand in this Lifetime movie of Amanda Knox which is being raced into production.

One remarked that it was “informed speculation” and that some proof could be on its way to leaking out. Reports like this below in the Chicago Sun-Times that Hayden Panettiere has already visited Amanda Knox in Capanne Prison help to fuel the speculation. It seems very unlikely that she would have gained such access, if she did, without Knox’s parents assisting.

Former “Heroes’’ star Hayden Panettiere has visited Amanda Knox in prison in Italy - part of her preparation to play Knox in a TV movie.

Also fueling the speculation is the deafening silence of Amanda Knox’s family and friends in Seattle, in the face of the various Perugia lawyers’ very strong protests about the movie (see the post below) which we presume was genuine, and not simply blowing smoke in an orchestrated sort of way.

One problem with any movie that Curt Knox and Edda Mellas do not tightly control is the reports that are already out there (including in two of the books) of extreme family friction before and after the divorce - Amanda was not much more than a toddler at the time of the divorce.

Narcissistic sociopathy and narcissistic psychopathy, which psychologists have speculated Amanda might to some degree have (tests done on her in prison during the hearings were not released. but they helped sway a judge to not grant house arrest or bail), can apparently be triggered by early childhood trauma.

Another problem for Curt Knox and Edda Mellas if they do not control the film is the reports of Amanda’s quirky behavior over the years, which continued at the University of Washington and also in Perugia. It was most especially noticeable in the three days after Meredith’s murder, as her sentencing report points out, and again when she was on the witness stand in June 2009. And she has admitted to using drugs - in fact, she used that as a part of her defence.

And another problem is the sheer depraved cruelty of the crime, chillingly described in the Micheli and Massei Reports.

Filming is now said to start next month, although the point of that is not obvious if it is not to be aired before the second appeal, as the Perugia defence lawyers have said they will insist on. On how long that second appeal might take, our poster Cesare Beccaria points out that it could drag on for years.

Appeals should be faster, but not necessarily.  In Italy the problem would be in Cassazione (3rd instance on law) where they can send the trial back to appeal for even a small procedural error. The case could go back and forth from appeal to Cassazione for years. Only Cassazione can confirm the verdict.

Media reports on the movie have all seemed to us pretty cool toward it. They have included phrases such as “all 3 convicted for murder, sexual assault, and obstructing justice”, “killer”, “convicted murderer” and so on. Only one used the inaccurate term “accused”. 

Comments posted under online reports on the movie seem to have been very strongly pro-Meredith and her family, after the compelling outcry from her mother in London, and often strongly anti Amanda Knox, who seems to command almost no online sympathy or support any more.

None of Hayden Panettiere’s fans seem too thrilled. .In fact nobody who is a friend or fan of Hayden Panettiere seems to be speaking up to say this is a great career move for her, and at least some think she is being used - being duped - to misleadingly influence public opinion and maybe the court.

Finally, here is part of the description in Wikipedia of Lifetime Television which is certainly one of the most controversial cable TV channels in the United States for its incessant focus on one or other victim - which, in the case of the present film, may very well NOT be portrayed as poor Meredith.

Because of the obvious feminine slant to the network’s programming, Lifetime is often jokingly referred to as The Estrogen Channel, or “Wifetime” and many criticize the network’s over-reliance on formulaic made for TV movies, including the “women in jeopardy” or “woman scorned” theme common on films produced by the network, archived product which aired on the major networks in the 1980s and 1990s, and outside producers airing their work on the network.

Other comedy programs have satirized Lifetime’s sometimes sentimental programming. Family Guy once parodied their slogan, making it Lifetime: Television for Idiots, and in an episode had one of the main characters make a Lifetime-like film which oversimplified those themes, along with a film starring Valerie Bertinelli, called “Men are Terrible and Will Hurt You Because This is Lifetime”.

On August 27, 2009, A&E Television Networks, the owner of A&E Network, History and others, acquired Lifetime Entertainment Services. Though the channel is owned by another subsidiary company operated as a joint venture, Lifetime and its networks remain under the co-ownership of The Walt Disney Company and Hearst Corporation, though NBC Universal became partial owner of the Lifetime channels as well since NBCU already was a part owner of A&E Television Networks.

This movie REALLY should have been about the real victim Meredith, as her mother compellingly complained. THAT is normal Lifetime territory, not doing special pleading for her convicted killer. Hayden and writer Wendy Battles, please read up about Meredith, and see if you still feel the same way.

Read this post for example about what a super-high-achiever Meredith really was, and what a huge loss to the world her death is. And read the Massei Sentencing Report (link at top here) on how very, very cruel and depraved this crime against her really was.

[Below, second from left, is said to be Lifetime scriptwriter Wendy Battles]


By Storm Roberts (Innai)

I really hope nothing comes of this film.  The fact that the mere idea of it is causing more distress to Meredith’s family should mean that the idea goes no further.

If the Italian legal teams working for Sollecito and Knox think this is a bad idea one would have thought their families would be standing up and trying to stop the film being made.  If it turns out that this “buzz” is correct it would mean that Knox’s family are what? Cutting her loose? 

Knowing that they have hired an American lawyer to represent their daughter’s interests I would be very interested in hearing a statement from him explaining their position.  It sounds to me like the Italian legal team would like this to be stopped - as the film is being made under the jurisprundence of the United States it sounds like something their American lawyer should be trying to stop.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 09/23/10 at 04:50 PM | #

Hi Innai. Yes this rumored Knox family involvement would make it even more hurtful for Meredith’s family. The Knox family can quickly deny it if it is untrue, of course, in which case the rumors might go away. 

Though Panetierre meeting with Knox in Capanne Prison… she did that without their even knowing?!

Right now, this emerging story is like watching a slow motion train wreck about to happen. A PR disaster in the making. The movie will presumably have to be part-made in Perugia, right under the noses of all the defense lawyers there.

Questions like those raised in the post above are going to keep coming on a daily basis. Remember that all the Rome reporters have read the Massei Report months ago, and if there is even ONE reporter who feels Amanda was unfairly convicted we are unaware.

So precisely what will Hayden Panetierre be saying at her press conferences and in promoting the film? What will she say about Knox’s guilt - and especially about the real victim Meredith?

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/23/10 at 05:33 PM | #

This might now emerge as a TOTAL DISASTER for Amanda Knox.

Word from Italy just in is that Sollecito’s lawyer Ms Bongiorno is apparently hopping mad at this development, which will only further anger Italy on the lines Barbie Nadeau described last week in Newsweek. See our post.

Could it finally precipitate the complete break between the two defendants and two teams that has always been in the cards?

Remember that Sollecito has NEVER confirmed Knox’s various alibis except the first - his position is STILL that she was out for four hours on the night. He may now plead that he was only in on the clean-up.

Talk about a slow motion train wreck. One can almost feel sorry for Knox.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/23/10 at 06:52 PM | #

By Storm Roberts (Innai)

Ms. Bongiorno’s words did seem to be the strongest in the article quoted in the previous post - stating she would act to stop the film if it were released prior to the appeal process being completed (that was my understanding, anyway). 

I am not surprised she is angry - she needs a nice calm and considered run in to the appeal not a media circus.  Sollecito has been quite separate from other reports coming from the US, however a film will necessarily involve some depiction of him - no matter what that depiction is it will not be helpful. 

I think that Knox should be concentrating on the advice from her Italian legal team and there should be no further co-operation with the film makers.

Posted by Nolongeramember on 09/23/10 at 08:35 PM | #

A good report from Naomi Rainey of Digital Spy.  A good report from Molly Willow of Fancast. And this unsourced report on</a>

No comment on the movie at all today out of Seattle,  so our sources seem to have hit the nail on the head here. If it wasn’t for those pesky lawyers…! Well, they are the ones struggling to get Knox off on appeal, and Barbie Nadeau already pointed out last week what a negative mood in Italy they already faced.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/24/10 at 12:14 AM | #

According to the Christian Science Monitor:

“As Knox spends her days in a grim women’s prison outside Perugia, a British production company is negotiating to buy the rights to Latza Nadeau’s book.

A local newspaper in Umbria, Corriere dell’Umbria, reported last month that the film would star the British actor Colin Firth, best known for “Mamma Mia!” and “Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

British director Michael Winterbottom, whose previous films include “A Mighty Heart,” based on the murder of US journalist Daniel Pearl, is reportedly set to direct the film. Both men visited Perugia during the summer”

Michael Winterbottom is a fantastic director, and Colin Firth is a superb actor (not sure what part he would play, though). This film, if made, would trump ANY Lifetime Movie, but my objections will remain, if the Kercher family do not wish such a film to be made.

Posted by Janus on 09/24/10 at 12:45 AM | #

Amanda Knox is being used by her parents. They will exploit her commercially as long as they can.

On one hand Amanda Knox insists she had a fair trial in Italy and she seems to follow her lawyer’s advice, but on the other hand she gives interviews to an actress so she can interpret her in a coming movie that might be harmful for her appeal. Her lawyers would have advised against it, so we can only conclude she gave that interview at the behest of her parents. I don’t expect Edda and Chris Mellas and Curt Knox to confirm their involvement in the movie. It is obvious they are, otherwise they would have prevented Amanda from giving that interview.

Amanda Knox is caught in the middle. She is going to pay a high price for it - and her parents don’t seem to care a bit. Absolutely shameful.

The fact alone that her parents ignore the advice of her lawyers speaks volumes.

Didn’t Amanda Knox sue an Italian journalist for publishing her “private” diary? Why exactly is it she never sued Candace Dempsey? Acts speak louder than words ...

Posted by Nell on 09/24/10 at 03:05 AM | #

Now the UK’s popular Best For Film website takes a crack at the movie, quoting John Kercher, Meredith’s father:


Hayden Panettiere is best known for playing Heroes’ cute-yet-crucial cheerleader – Claire Bennet. Aliteration aside, it is a label she seems eager to shake off. Perhaps a little too eager if this latest career move is anything to go by; after all, what better way to separate oneself from the image of a world saving cheerleader than by agreeing to star in a biopic of Amanda Knox, the US student convicted of killing 21 year-old Meredith Kercher? We think we speak for most people when we say this day has arrived horribly, horribly soon.

Though sensibly not deemed suitable material for an international cinema release, the astonishingly insensitive project (scripted by regular CSI New York and Law and Order scribe, Wendy Battles) is expected to go directly to US television – a prospect that only yields more potential danger.

In America, and especially her native Seattle, Knox’s guilt has never been argued with the same certainty as here in the UK. With the student convicted of the horrific crime just 9 months ago and an appeal expected to be filed later this year, there is a worrying chance that the film could be used as a chance to paint Knox with an inappropriate – and, most importantly, unprovable – amount of sympathy.

Yet to focus solely on matters of guilt and innocence is to ignore another excellent reason why this poorly timed film should not be made. Asked for his view on the idea, Kercher’s father has stated: “I don’t like the idea of a film based on Meredith’s death. Seeing it graphically portrayed on the big screen is a horrible thought.” The news of this sensationalist casting is hardly likely to help.


And this is the comment by Louise that follows:

I agree. It’s one thing to watch Charlize Theron transform herself for Monster – a well-respected, credible actress portraying an established criminal whose guilt has never been in question. But Knox? The bizarre affection both the Italians and her fellow Americans have bestowed upon her baffles me. The court has found her guilty – whether or not she’s pretty, fun and vivacious has no bearing upon this.

Given this oh-so-generic bubblegum casting, it certainly seems as though the film will be opting for that sympathetic route you mention above. The worst aspect, as you also point out, is the too, too contemporary feel of it all. The story is barely 5mins out of the press. She might yet find herself facing a life sentence after all, or, who knows, acquitted? How will the film then deal with this?!

Thumbs down.

Comment above by Louise.

Posted by Peter Quennell on 09/24/10 at 04:20 AM | #

where is good ole Ted Simon in all of this? (quietly rueing the day he ever got involved?)

Posted by mojo on 09/24/10 at 10:12 AM | #

The Knox & Mellas clan are disgustingly wrong enough in any participation toward a movie about a murder that their daughter committed, but also in the fact that they are pimping their daughter for all the cash they can squeeze out of the situation.  No wonder Amanda became what she is!

I am also not surprised that Hayden Panettiere is the actress chosen to portray Amanda.  As the actress has always portrayed the innocent, cutie-pie, cheerleader type she fits the role that Knox/Mellas want us to believe their daughter is, as well.

@ mojo - Good point!  Where IS Ted Simon in all of this?  Probably wishing he’d never gotten involved with these moronic cretins that spawned a murderess!

Posted by Mo-in-Mass.,USA on 09/24/10 at 01:47 PM | #

And where are Curt Knox. Edda and Chris Mellas?

Perhaps like Joe Halderman they too are in hiding. Halderman was just released from jail after trying trying to extort David Letterman.

Evidently, Halderman’s lawyer has told the media that Halderman is not doing any interviews and just wants to return to a quiet life.

Posted by True North on 09/24/10 at 03:12 PM | #

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Or to next entry The Knox Movie: Sollecito Reported Angry - Real Risk That His Defense Could Break Away From Knox’s

Or to previous entry Could Movie Depicting The Real Knox And The Real Meredith Be A PR And Defense Disaster?