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Industry Roundup: Hayden Panettiere to Play Amanda Knox

Ripped From The Headlines: Heroes' Hayden Panettiere will play Amanda Knox in a Lifetime original movie set to air in 2011. The project, tentatively titled The Amanda Knox Story, will tell the tale of the U.S. exchange student convicted by an Italian trial jury of brutally murdering her roommate. After an eleven-month trial, Knox was sentenced last December to 26 years in prison (her boyfriend, also involved in the crime, received a sentence of 25 years). Knox has repeatedly maintained her innocence and appealed the verdict. [Deadline]

Team Burton: Tim Burton is calling on the usual suspects to lend their voices to his Frankenweenie, a stop motion animated Disney feature based on his 1984 short about a man who “reanimates his dog” after it gets hit by a car. Burton has lined up Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands, Beetle Juice), Martin Landeau (Ed Wood), Martin Short (Mars Attacks!), and Catherine O’Hara (Beetle Juice, A Nightmare Before Christmas) for the film. Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter must have had really good excuses. [Deadline]

Legendary: NBC has picked up Legends, a pilot about a CIA agent from writer Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard) and producers Howard Gordon (24) and Jonathan Levin (Charmed). The project is about a government operative with an “uncanny gift” for “legends,” otherwise known as “false identities,” who embarks on a number of missions while dealing with the possibility that “his own identity may be a ‘legend’ too.” Sounds not confusing at all! [Live Feed/HR]

Trio of Peeples: Kerry Washington, Craig Robinson and David Alan Grier have been cast in the comedy We the Peeples. Tina Gordon Chrism (Drumline) wrote the screenplay and will make her directorial debut on the film, which is centered on a child psychologist (Robinson) who surprises his girlfriend (Washington) by showing up at her family’s Sag Harbor vacation home … only to learn her family is “desperately in need of therapy.” [HR]

Good News for Mo: NBC has picked up a project in development from up-and-coming comic Mo Mandel that “chronicles what a group of twentysomethings do in the last five years of their lives before the Earth is destroyed by a meteor.” Mandel, who recurs on Chelsea Lately, may co-star if the script goes to pilot. [Deadline]

Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images