Indie filmmaker Antonio Campos, the director behind chilly thrillers “Simon Killer” and “Christine,” returns to the small screen with “The Staircase” on HBO Max The eight-episode narrative limited series is an adaptation of Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s true-crime docuseries of the same name that spanned from 2004 to 2018. The crime series starring Colin Firth and Toni Collette arrives on HBO Max May 5 with three episodes, followed by one episode each week. Overall, the HBO Max Original is eight episodes. Watch the trailer below.
“The Staircase” explores the life of Michael Peterson (Firth), his sprawling North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen Peterson (Collette), who was found dead at the bottom of the staircase in their mansion. Her husband, Marine Corps veteran Michael, was a novelist, newspaper columnist, and mayoral candidate when he was convicted of Kathleen’s murder in 2003.
Starring alongside Firth and Collette is an embarrassment of rich talents: Michael Stuhlbarg, Juliette Binoche, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, Rosemarie DeWitt, Tim Guinee, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Sophie Turner, Vincent Vermignon, Odessa Young, and Parker Posey.
Prosecutors compellingly argued Michael bludgeoned his wife to death; he went on to claim she fell after consuming alcohol and Valium. However, an autopsy ultimately concluded that Kathleen died from multiple injuries, including blows to the back of her head with a blunt object. Michael spent years in prison before his conviction was overturned. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to the killing with a manslaughter charge and walked free with time served.
The original documentary won a Peabody Award in 2005, with later episodic installments updated throughout revelations in the Peterson case. The full docuseries is available to stream on Netflix.
Campos previously brought his indie filmmaking eye to the small screen, directing multiple episodes of “The Sinner.” His last film was Netflix’s ensemble southern gothic “The Devil All the Time,” which was released in the fall of 2020. Elsewhere on Netflix, Collette can be seen in the crime-centered drama “Pieces of Her.” Firth was most recently seen in the dramas “Mothering Sunday” and “Supernova.”
See the full trailer for “The Staircase” below.