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Last year (09), Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison for killing her friend in 2007 during a violent night.

Panettiere admits she is desperate to meet the woman she will be playing before filming starts in Rome, Italy at the end of the month (Oct10), but Knox's lawyers have refused her request.

She says, "I wish (I could meet her). I know the Italian government is being pretty protective of her, her lawyers are being protective of her, which is pretty understandable. It's something I would like to do (meet her) but I'd be more surprised if it happened than if it didn't."

The jailed student's attorneys have already objected to the film, insisting the story should not be "exploited" for entertainment while an appeal is still pending, and they won't let Panettiere meet their client.

Knox's lawyer Carlo Della Vedova says, "There is no way that this actress can meet with Amanda while she is in jail. Amanda knows about the film because she read about it in the newspaper but she is not in agreement with it and she is surprised."

Panettiere is aware of the controversy surrounding the project, but insists it won't have an impact on production.

She adds, "It's a really great story and a very controversial one. The way the script is written is very well done, in a way that I don't think anyone is going to have a problem with... It only takes place up until she was convicted. I know her appeal is coming up pretty soon too so it should be interesting to see what is going to happen with that."