Director, Colin Firth circle slaying case

Michael Winterbottom is developing a feature film about the Amanda Knox murder case with Colin Firth in talks to play a journo or writer investigating the trial’s elements.

Winterbottom, the prolific British helmer most recently of serial killer thriller “The Killer Inside Me,” mingled with the international press pack Friday outside a closed hearing in Perugia, Italy, where Knox appeared in court for a slander case related to her 26-year murder sentence.

A rep for Winterbottom confirmed to Daily Variety that a project based on the Knox case is in “early days.” It will be the the second Knox project: Cabler Lifetime has a telepic starring Hayden Panettiere as Amanda Knox in production titled “The Amanda Knox Story,” with plans to air Stateside next year.

In past weeks, Winterbottom and Firth have been scouting locations in the area and spending time with Rome-based American journalist Barbie Latza Nadeau, author of “Angel Face: The True Story of Student Killer Amanda Knox.” The book has been criticized by the Knox family for suggesting that the student from Seattle is guilty.

Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were indeed found guilty last December, after an 11-month trial, of the murder of Meredith Kercher, a British woman with whom she shared an apartment. Kercher was stabbed, with signs of prior sexual assault, according to prosecutors.

But the case remains controversial, with the defense and supporters claiming that Italian authorities conjured up wild tales of her engaging in hard drug use and deviant sexual activities, leading to Kercher’s murder. The case launched a media circus in Italy that some believe helped lead to an unfair trial. The Knox and Sollecito appeals trial is scheduled to start Nov. 24.

Winterbottom told the Guardian in Perugia that he was not planning to take sides.

“I have no view on whether they did it, the film will not be about that. There is unlikely to be a character playing Knox,” he said. “I talked to Firth about the idea of playing a journalist or a writer.”

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