The Staircase, a 2004 true crime doc about the mysterious death of novelist Michael Peterson’s wife, is getting a limited series adaptation at HBO Max. The streamer announced today that the eight-episode series, which comes from director Antonio Campos, will star Colin Firth as Peterson. HBO Max’s The Staircase will draw from both the 2004 docuseries and books and reports on the case to explore Peterson’s life, family, and the puzzling death of his wife, Kathleen.
Peterson’s story evolves largely around the events of December 9, 2001, when Kathleen was found unconscious after falling down a set of stairs in the couple’s North Carolina home. It was later determined that Kathleen died from blood loss as a result of multiple blows to her body and head. Because Peterson was the only one home at the time of Kathleen’s death, he was immediately viewed as the prime suspect in her death, although he maintained his innocence.
When the original The Staircase series premiered in 2004, it centered around Peterson’s trial for the murder of his wife. Updates to the documentary were made in 2018, when an extended version premiered on Netflix as a 13-episode series.
Campos, who will direct six out of the series’ eight episodes at HBO Max, said in a statement that he’s been working on this project “in one way or another since 2008,” adding, “It’s been a long and winding road, but well worth the wait to be able to find partners like HBO Max, Annapurna, co-showrunner Maggie Cohn and the incredible Colin Firth to dramatize such a complex true-life story.”
Sarah Aubrey, Head of Original Content, HBO Max, added, “It is a thrill to collaborate with Antonio Campos, Maggie Cohn and Annapurna Television for the exploration of this true-life story that’s rife with dramatic revelations. With the enormously talented Colin Firth at the center of this adaptation, the story of The Staircase will continue to captivate audiences with every bizarre twist and turn.”
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