One of the more bizarre criminal cases of the last decade was the 2007 murder of British exchange student Meredith Kercher and subsequent conviction of American Amanda Knox. Having already been turned into a tawdry Lifetime Original movie, this case is ripe for a theatrical feature, even though the case technically hasn’t even been fully resolved. Luckily, Michael Winterbottom’s planned docudrama The Face of an Angel has filled its leading role, as Underworld actress Kate Beckinsale has signed on.
Beckinsale will neither be playing Knox nor Kercher, according to Deadline, but rather a journalist investigating the case. It was a role Colin Firth was attached to back when the project was first announced. Winterbottom has made it clear that the movie's focus isn't going to be on the murder at all. Of course, when he said those words, he wasn’t even planning on anyone playing Knox in the film, but that’s exactly the role that actress Cara Delevingne signed on for last week. So who knows what the actual story behind this thing is going to be. Daniel Brühl will be playing a documentary filmmaker attempting to get to the bottom of the case. Judging from real life, I’m assuming that character never reaches that goal.
Here’s a little background on the true story. Knox moved to Italy in 2007, moving into a house with Kercher and starting up a relationship with Raffalele Sollecito. Following Kercher’s November 1, 2007 murder, Knox was arrested along with Sollecito and charged with the murder. The next four and a half years were a whirlwind of convictions and appeals, ending with both parties’ original convictions being overturned in October 2011. However, the Italian Court of Cassation once again overturned the conviction in March of this year, and a retrial began on September 30, 2013 with Knox in absentia.
Based on the Barbie Latza Nadeau book Angel Face: Sex, Murder and the Inside Story of Amanda Knox, The Face of an Angel will focus on how the media handled the sensational case that took Italy by surprise. There are over a dozen nonfiction books written about it, with at least as many independent documentaries and segments on news magazine shows. As a matter of fact, both Knox and Sollecito wrote their own memoirs that were released earlier this year.
This will probably be one of the more dramatically complex roles that Beckinsale has taken, as she tends to go for films that excel in concept more than execution, with last year’s Total Recall being a prime example. She’ll next be seen in the Karen Moncrieff drama The Trials of Cate McCall and in Brad Anderson’s paranormal thriller Eliza Graves.
For a more in-depth look at the case, check out the 48 Hours Mystery episode below.