Hayden Panettiere wants to meet convicted murderer Amanda Knox before she plays her in a new film.

The 'Heroes' star is keen to visit the imprisoned killer to help her prepare for the film - which is due to start shooting in Rome, Italy, at the end of October.

When asked if she had met Knox, she told Britain's BBC Newsbeat: "I wish. I know the Italian government is being pretty protective of her and her lawyers are being protective of her, which is pretty understandable.

"It's something I would like to do but I'd be more surprised if it happened than if it didn't."

Panettiere also revealed she was "flattered" to be offered the part, despite the controversy she expects the movie to attract.

The 21-year-old actress added: "They called me up and asked me to do it. I was completely floored and flattered. I was like, 'Are you sure?' I'm looking forward to it. I'm really excited about it. It's going to be a really tough project to do but it will be good.

"It's a really great story and a very controversial one. The Script is written very well, 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."

The 'Amanda Knox Story' - which will be directed by Robert Dornhelm - is being made by US TV channel Lifetime and is due to be screened In America in 2011.

Knox was convicted of killing British student Meredith Kercher - who was found semi-naked and with her throat slashed in November 2007 - in December 2009 and jailed for 26 years for murder and sexual violence.

Her boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito was also given a 25-year sentence for the killing which took place in Perugia, Italy, while drug dealer Rudy Guede was also jailed for 16 years.

All three claim they are innocent and will start their appeals next month.