Winterbottom casts his Amanda Knox film
Except it isn't really his Amanda Knox film, it's a film loosely adapting a book about the Amanda Knox story but not retelling that story, ensuring that the film will become confused with fact from here on out. It's interesting to see that despite the film purchasing a book about the events and Winterbottom visiting the court for a hearing that the film won't be about this case and it will actually be a fictional tale. Still the connections are made and it could be dangerous territory.
That aside, Michael Winterbottom has his script and has been casting for the roles, and the two he has are very interesting, we also hear what the story of the film is set to be, and it doesn't sound that far from the truth.
A while ago Michael Winterbottom and the film production bought the rights to a book by Barbie Latza Nadeau entitled Angel Face: Sex, Murder and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox (Amazon.co.uk / Amazon.com), here's the blurb to let you know what the book is about:
Despite all the airtime devoted to Amanda Knox, it's still hard to reconcile the fresh-faced honor student from Seattle with the sexually rapacious killer convicted of the November 2007 murder of her British roommate. Few Americans have heard all of the powerful evidence that convinced a jury that Knox was one of three people to sexually assault Meredith Kercher, brutalize her body, and cut her throat. In Angel Face, Rome-based Daily Beast senior writer Barbie Latza Nadeau - who cultivated personal relationships with the key figures in both the prosecution and the defense - describes how the Knox family's heavy-handed efforts to control media coverage distorted the facts, inflamed an American audience, and painted an offensive, inaccurate picture of Italy's justice system. An eye-opener for any parent considering sending a child away to study, Angel Face reveals what really went on in this incomprehensible crime.
It's clear that the book, as gaudy and tabloid as the cover paints it, is based on the actual events and may well look to the facts in the case rather than media hype, public opinion or professional statements.
Interesting then that this book was bought by the production and Michael Winterbottom himself went to one of the appeal hearings of Amanda Knox to discover more about the case first hand, and yet the film won't be about Amanda Knox.
"We bought the rights to the book that tells the story of the trial, but our film is not really about that, so we are always a bit wary of even saying that…Our film is actually about losing a daughter, losing someone close to you; why are we so interested in violence and why are we not more interested in love."
Back in October of 2010 we first heard that Michael Winterbottom was making The Face of an Angel and that he was in Perugia for a court hearing for the appeal of Amanda Knox, that followed on closely from the news of another Knox film which was set to tell the true story and seemed to run into legal issues. Quite rightly so I thought, and said so at the time since any film portrayal of the events would surely have an effect on the actual court cases.
What I find intriguing is that the film will not be a telling of the Amanda Knox, Raffaele Sollecito, or the story that keeps getting lost, the murder of Meredith Kercher. Here's a recap of the events which you can read more about through the Meredith Kercher article on Wikipedia including the cases against Knox, Sollecito and Rudy Guede.
Meredith Kercher was murdered in Perugia, Italy in 2007. In 2008 Rudy Guede was convicted of her sexual assault and murder, and in 2009 Amanda Knox and her former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito were also both convicted of her murder. They spent two years in jail before being released on appeal in 2011. That appeal has been overturned by Italy's Supreme Court just this year and now a new trial has begun in Florence. This time however, Amanda Knox has stayed in America for the trial continuing to proclaim her innocence.
It's a complex story and an intriguing one too, for the writers and film-makers there are many things to attract you to the story from the unknowns of the murder, the mishandling of evidence, the uncertainties in the cases for and against and one of the defendants, the attractive young American in a foreign court system who may either be totally innocent or a sociopathic killer. Apparently that's what has attracted Winterbottom to this story, but will it come at a cost?
Any connection to the Meredith Kercher murder trial will mean that when people watch the film they will be making the connections and making assumptions and judgements, unless that is the film is radically different from the actual story, enough to make it clear to all ranges of audiences that this isn't the truth.
I'm still uncertain as to whether they will manage to pull that off but reading Winterbottom's words there it does sound like they might be trying hard to distance themselves.
Pushing the controversy and the real life connections to the side for now there's news about the production for The Face Of An Angel.
The film has just recently cast Kate Beckinsale alongside Daniel Brühl and Cara Delevingne, according to Deadline. The script by Paul Viragh will see Beckinsale's playing a journalist and Brühl's playing a documentary maker, both investigating a murder case where the accused is a beautiful young woman, played by Cara Delevingne, is accused of some horrific acts.
Well that is some strong casting but it's also very close to the actual story, I wonder how well they are going to be able to distance themselves from the actual events?