By SARAH FITZMAURICE
Stepping into the limelight: Hayden has stepped back into the spotlight following her role as Amanda and has sparked fury with her comments about the convicted
Just a few months ago her attendance to a celebrity party wouldn't have attracted much attention, but now, it seems like she is the biggest star in town.
But as the publicity and outrage surrounding the controversial new Meredith Kercher murder movie mounts, Hayden Panettiere seems to be making the most of her time in the limelight.
The 21-year-old was the belle of the ball at a Superbowl pre-party in Dallas last night and looked stunning in a navy velvet and lace dress.
The actress, who has sparked more fury over recent comments she has made about Amanda Knox, was all smiles as she posed for pictures will fellow guests- showing her star is clearly in high-demand.
Showing off a sleek short bobbed hair-style the Heroes star was looking tanned and content as she was joined by guest including Joe Jonas, Randy Jackson and Adrian Grenier at the bash.
But while she was all smiles at the pre-football party, her recent comments about Amanda Knox have sparked further fury and outrage ahead of the movie showing.
Snap happy: Hayden posed with guests at the party including Entourage star Adrian Grenier
Hayden has said she isn’t sure whether the American teenager is guilty or not and said that she is ‘vulnerable’ and ‘spirited’.
The actress told The Sun: ‘My job was to play a girl who, regardless of what happened, was innocent in who she was.’
‘I believe in the person she deep down was and I think no matter, regardless of innocent or guilty, I believe she was a…she has a spirit.
Famous faces: Hayden posed with Randy Jackson and Joe Jonas smiling for the cameras despite the growing controversy over her new film
‘You know she’s a real person. She was a young girl with dreams and aspirations and she wanted to go to Italy to broaden her horizons and have experiences and meet new people.’
‘And I don’t think that guilty or innocent takes away from that.’
She added: ‘This is such a vulnerable story, and specifically, Amanda was so needy.’
In graphic scenes that have proved distressing for the family and friends of the student, Amanda Fernando Stevens, who plays Miss Kercher, is seen pinned to the floor by the three people convicted of her murder.
Stylish and outspoken: Hayden wrapped up in a grey Burberyy coat as she left the party. The actress has said she thinks Amanda Knox is 'vulnerable' and 'spirited'
Miss Kercher's father John said the images in the U.S. film are 'absolutely horrific' and has slammed the film.
He said: 'It's so awful what these film people have done. Your imagination runs riot as it is about what happened but to actually see it like this is very different and very distressing.’
'I'm also surprised they went that far in the film. I was told the original brief and synopsis of the film was to take it up to the point of the killing but not actually show the killing itself.’
Centre of attention: As Hayden arrived into Dallas airport she seemed overwhelmed by the number of fans who wanted to meet her
Fan following: A number of admirers followed her out of the airport as she arrived ahead of the Super Bowl game on Sunday
The families of Amanda and Raffaele Sollecito are trying to prevent the film from being aired until after their appeal.
The film sees Heroes actress Hayden Panettiere play American exchange student Amanda Knox, who was convicted of murder three years ago.
The film, which broadcasts on the Lifetime channel in the U.S. on February 21, comes as Knox, 23, appeared in court last month to start her appeal.
The hearing was delayed to give an independent forensic team time to re-analyse disputed DNA traces found on a knife and on the clasp of Miss Kercher's bra.
The trailer poses the question whether Amanda is 'kind and gentle' or 'evil', claiming 'there are two sides to every story'.
In the scene depicting her murder, she is set upon by Knox, her then-boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito and Rudy Hermann Guede.
Despite Knox's conviction and 26-year prison sentence, she has always protested her innocence, and this new film appears to raise the question of whether or not she did it.
The film features a recreation of Knox's trial and the progress of the appeal by her family and friends to prove what they believe is her innocence.
And after throwing herself into Amanda’s shoes Hayden has admitted she isn’t sure if she is guilty or not.
She told the paper: ‘We spent five weeks talking about it and reading about it and looking at new evidence, trying to form some sort of opinion about it.’
And it’s like she’s innocent. She’s guilty. She’s innocent. She’s guilty. She’s innocent.’
The actress has also revealed how she delighted she was to find out she would be given the chance to play the convicted American dubbed ‘Foxy Knoxy’ by press.
She said: ‘I was jumping like a jumping bean. I was screaming at the top of my lungs. I was so excited that this opportunity had come up.’
In preparation for the role Hayden watched hours and hours of footage of Knox in court.
The actress commented: ‘She really tried to be as stoic and as brave as she could against all odds and I commend her for it.’
Hayden also believes that Amanda Knox’s smiles in court were down to bad advice from her legal team.
She added: ‘They told her to go out there and not pretend to be anything that she wasn’t, but be her vivacious and happy self.’