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Amanda Knox lawyers threaten to sue over controversial new film based on Meredith Kercher's murder


Amanda Knox's lawyers say they make take action over a new film based around the events of Meredith Kercher's murder in Perugia in 2007, if it is "damaging to her image".

The Face of an Angel is based on a book about the infamous murder case written by CNN journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau and apparently comes with the blessing of Kercher's family; Meredith's brother Lyle has watched it.

"We dedicate the film at the end 'In Memory of Meredith Kercher', I didn't want to do that unless someone from her family had seen it," said director Michael Winterbottom.

The drama, starring Kate Beckinsale and Cara Delevingne, drew mixed reaction as it premiered at Toronto Film Festival this weekend.

A Guardian review praised the way in which it depicted how the media frenzy surrounding the trial "helped turn a grisly stabbing into a long-running soap opera".

But the Mail reported that lawyers for 27-year-old Knox may sue if the film casts her in a negative light, as her trial for the 2007 murder is still ongoing.

The trailer for The Face of an Angel, which hits cinemas in October

"There have already been at least two films and 12 books about the case," Knox’s lawyer Luciano Ghirga. "If the film is based even loosely on the murder in Perugia and if it is damaging to Amanda’s image, we will be asking for damages, as we have done in other cases."

He said he had not yet seen the film but supposed - "knowing the author - that it implies that Amanda is guilty."

However, writer Nadeau insists the film version of her book does not "place the knife in Knox's hand".

Cara Delevingne and Kate Beckinsale at the Toronto premiere of The Face of an Angel this weekend

Both Kercher and Knox were 21 years old and studying Italian in the picturesque town of Perugia when Kercher was found stabbed to death in the flat they shared on 2 November 2007.

Knox and her Italian boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito were convicted of the murder alongside local drug dealer Rudy Guede, who is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence for the murder.

Knox was sentenced to 28 years and six months and Sollecito received 25 years, but the pair, who had dated for just one week before the murder, were acquitted of the crime on appeal in 2011 after spending four years behind bars.

However in June this year, Italian judges reinstated a guilty verdict against them after an appeals court in Florence said the victim's wounds indicated multiple aggressors.

The judges said they believe both Knox and Sollecito wielded knives, as Guede held Kercher down and committed a sexual assault. They claimed it was Knox who "delivered the only mortal blow" that night, striking Kercher with a kitchen knife.

Meredith Kercher was found stabbed to death in the Perugia apartment she shared with Amanda Knox in 2007

Throughout the trial and various court rulings, press attention has focused relentlessly on the personality, movements and motives of Knox, or "Foxy Knoxy" as she has been dubbed.

Director Winterbottom said he wanted The Face of an Angel to bring the focus of the case back to the victim.

"The Kercher family had talked a lot about that, with a huge amount of dignity, the reasons they went for the trial was to make sure that amongst the chaos, it was remembered that someone had lost their life," he said. "That was one of the central things I thought about."

"Meredith's murder becomes a vehicle for another story in the film, and it was important that the Kerchers were not offended by that," added the book's writer Nadeau. "That said, it ends on the character inspired by Meredith, and on what her life could have been, which means this story cannot have a happy ending."

Amanda Knox maintains her innocence in a Twitter post in February

Knox and Sollecito are now awaiting a judgement from Italy's highest court, the Court of Cassation, which could uphold or overturn their guilty verdict.

Knox travelled back to the States after her conviction was overturned in 2011. If this verdict is upheld, the court will undergo a lengthy process to extradite her back to Italy to serve prison time.

Both parties have always maintained their innocence in the affair.

"I have stated from the beginning of this long ordeal that I am innocent of the accusations against me," Knox said in June. "Experts agreed that my DNA was not found anywhere in Meredith's room, while the DNA of the actual murderer, Rudy Guede, was found throughout that room and on Meredith's body."

"There is nothing against me and nothing very strong against Amanda," Sollecito said, in a CNN interview in February. "And in my case, I really did nothing wrong, and I don't want to pay for someone else's peculiar behaviour."

The Face of an Angel comes out in UK cinemas on 18 October

Photos: Rex Features



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