TCA: Hayden Panettiere Playing Amanda Knox Without Deciding Whether She's Guilty

Co-star Marcia Gay Harden says she didn't need to decide

Hayden Panettiere says she played Amanda Knox in Lifetime's dramatization of the case without making a decision about whether the American student was really guilty of killing her roommate.

"It's one of those cases, which is why it's so compelling, why I was so interested in playing it, is it's one of those really riveting stories where you just don't know," she told TheWrap.com at the Television Press Association's winter press tour.

"We spent five weeks every day talking about it and talking about it and reading about it and looking at new evidence trying to form some sort of opinion about it, and it's like, 'She's guilty. She's innocent. She's guilty. She's innocent. It genuinely — I can't say that I have an opinion."

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The "Scream 4" star also said Knox's innocence or guilt didn't affect who she really is. "My job was to play a girl who regardless of what happened was innocent — was innocent in who she was. She's not a malicious girl. She didn't have an intention to do this. This wasn't an angry or dark girl."

A court in Perugia, Italy, found Knox, an American student, guilty of sexually assaulting and murdering her British roommate. "Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy," airs Feb. 21.

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Marcia Gay Harden, who plays Knox's mother in the movie, said her co-star didn't need to decide whether Knox was guilty to play her.

"You don't play an action as an actor based on whether you did something or not because then you would be twisting your mustache, to tell the audience that you did do it… you try to be truthful to the emotional life of the character," she said.