The Staircase was one of the first true-crime documentaries to break out into mainstream culture when it was released in 2004.
The series is now being remade as a drama limited series for HBO Max with Colin Firth playing Michael Peterson, the man convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson.
There previously were rumors that Harrison Ford had been attached to the project, which comes from Antonio Campos, the director of Rebecca Hall-fronted feature Christine, and American Crime Story writer Maggie Cohn.
The Staircase is written and exec produced by Campos and Cohn, and Campos will direct six of the eight episodes of the show, which is produced by Annapurna Television and HBO Max.
The Staircase started out as a documentary from director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade. It told the story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist accused of killing his wife Kathleen after she is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home, and the 16-year judicial battle that followed. De Lestrade was granted unusual access to the case immediately following Kathleen’s death in 2001 in Durham, NC. Her husband, Michael, a local public figure and successful novelist, quickly became the prime suspect and was convicted.
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The original series aired on France’s Canal+ and BBC 4 in the UK as well as on Sundance Channel in the States.
Lestrade returned to the case a few years later for a three-part follow-up to the case, which aired on Netflix.
Firth is best known for his portrayal of King George VI in Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech, for which he won the Oscar for Best Actor. He also starred in the Kingsman films, 1917, Bridget Jones’ Diary and The English Patient, among other pics, and starred in TV series including a 1995 adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Antonio Campos said: “This has been a project I have been working on in one way or another since 2008. 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.”
Said Sue Naegle, Chief Content Officer at Annapurna: “Annapurna couldn’t be more excited to partner with HBO Max, Antonio Campos, Maggie Cohn and Colin Firth on this unbelievable true-life saga. We were enthralled by the docuseries and know that this story will be just as fascinating as a limited series in the hands of Antonio and Maggie, with Colin at the center.”
Firth is represented by Independent Talent (UK) and CAA (U.S). Campos is represented by WME, Management 360 and Nelson Davis. Cohn is represented by Management 360 and CAA.
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