Second Meredith Kercher murder film
The other day I wrote about a film that was being started about the murder of Meredith Kercher in a small Italian village and the three people, her room mate Amanda Knox, Knox's boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and another man Rudy Guede, who were found guilty of committing the murder. Hayden Panettiere was going to be playing Knox, but the film may be delayed as lawyers have now become involved.
Which is what may happen with the announcement of a British film to be made about the murder, although it is set to take a different angle I really can't see that it's going to avoid similar problems with the appeals currently going through the court process. That to the side, there are three very positive things about the British film – it may focus on the murder and Kercher more, Colin Firth is cast, and Michael Winterbottom is set to direct.
Just to return to that first piece of news, the American production of the film which was set to star Hayden Panettiere as Amanda Knox and seemed to focus on the woman found guilty of the murder who is currently going through the appeals process in the Italian courts. That's the issue that I raised in my article, the fact that there's a film being made about the case which could come out during the appeals process for the three convicted of the murder and could well influence the real life case.
This is especially pertinent in the Italian courts as from the research I did it seems that the jury in an Italian court are not shielded and protected from the outside world during cases and can go home, read newspapers, watch the news, and chat with anyone at all about it. Now if a film did come out while appeals were in progress, could it possibly affect the jurors either directly or indirectly?
I thought it could, and from the comment in The Guardian article it looks like it has as the production has been threatened with legal action, although nothing seems to have been happened as yet. Raffaele Sollecito's lawyers have said that they feel the film could affect the appeals process, and I agree, it certainly will.
However then the question is raised, when could a film be made? Should it wait until all appeals processes are completed? What about parole hearings? Should films of real life cases be allowed as soon as the initial verdicts are announced? There's not a clear cut answer.
So it's surprising that there's going to be a British film as well, although from the news article it could well be taking a slightly different view, that of the victim, Meredith Kercher, however it's not going to avoid the events of the murder and to me that means it faces the same issues that the American film does.
Michael Winterbottom was in Perugia for the court hearing for the appeal of Knox, the American student who was convicted of the rather horrifying murder. Both Knox and Sollecito have appeals beginning in November. You can read more of the back story and events in the previous article that I wrote when we heard about the American film.
Surprisingly there's already a casting move on the British film which is rather big news, Colin Firth is set to play a journalist covering the case when it first came to light in 2007, if he accepts.
The film is said to be loosely based on the case, but it seems to be the details that are interesting Winterbottom:
"You are drawn into this story, it is a puzzle...Usually puzzles in films are fake, but this is one without a solution."
The article has a comment from Knox's stepfather, Chris Mellas who says:
"I hope these film versions tell the truth.”
Well that's the problem isn't it, what is the truth? There's the truth based on the evidence, and the truth from those convicted, and I'm sure there will then be a truth from the film.
That doesn't seem to be the case according to Winterbottom though, he seems to believe that the film won't be touching on this and even reveals that there may not be an actor to play Knox:
"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"
Okay then, so what will the film be about then? The investigation into the case? Well if it is then they'll still be presenting a version of the film won't they? Even without portraying the events of the night they'll have to address the facts, the case, the details in some way. Winterbottom said he's not just interested in the details though, he's interested in the journalists.
"The taking sides over the case was extreme here...There was no explanation that covered everything and the journalists were drawn in in a way you would not expect."
While at the court hearing Winterbottom was scouting locations and even visited the house the murder took place in, tracing the route it was claimed that the killer or killers took, he was even joined by Colin Firth whom he talked to about playing the role of the journalist.
So Firth could be playing the leading role and we'll see nothing of the people who will be pushing their appeals through the courts. What we will see is an examination of the journalists and others who leapt to the polarised views on the case.
The most interesting part will be how Winterbottom is wanting to portray the story in the film, something we're going to have to wait to find out.