On May 5, 2022, HBO Max premiered on the streamer limited series The Staircasetitled Stairs In our country, based on the docuseries by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, which from 2004 to 2018 documented the case of Michael Peterson, a novelist convicted of murdering his wife, Kathleen Peterson, who was found dead at the foot of the stairs of their house in December 2001.
In the Max Original production, Colin Firth y Toni Collette, they play Michael, and Kathleen, respectively. Created with a script Anthony Fields (The Devil All the Time, Christine, Afterschool) y Maggie Cohn, who are also the executive producers. Additionally, Campos directed six of the eight episodes, while Leigh Janiak (trilogy Fear Street) directed two episodes.
Based on a true story, “The Staircase” explores the life of Michael Peterson (Firth), his extended North Carolina family and the suspicious death of his wife Kathleen Robertson (Collette).
With a final broadcast on June 9, an interview of Peterson with the medium Variety emerges, to whom he revealed that he was not happy with the television production of HBO Max, despite only having seen a small piece of the official trailer. This is what he says to the medium:
“There was a two and a half minute trailer and I turned it off after a minute because my kids were yelling at each other. And I said, ‘What family is this? Where did this come from? So I didn’t see any more. I realized that under no circumstances can I watch this.”
“It’s just a heinous desecration of their lives.” [Toni Collete como Kathleen] is a “screaming shrew” [en la pantalla].”
And the performance of the Oscar winner, Firth, who did not consult the role with Peterson, does not go unnoticed.:
“I will always be known as Colin Firth. Could be worse I guess. He is not my favorite actor. Get Brad Pitt! But to be fair, I haven’t seen his interpretationbut i heard i had [mi] correct voice and [mis] maerismos But she didn’t capture my energy or humor.”
“To me, Colin is a great actor, but I can’t think of any part played by him that wasn’t boring and that’s fine.. I’m not putting him down, but I would have thought of talking to him. He said he wanted to do it himself, make his own creature, I thought, ‘What are you talking about? I am the real person. If you want to know what I think and feel, read my book or talk to me.’”
About the sex scenes:
“It is, from what I also heard, homophobic, as my trial certainly was, and definitely a contributing factor to my conviction. That completely fabricated episode where I killed Kathleen is extremely homophobic when he finds porn on my computer late at night, even though the prosecution’s expert testified that the computer was not accessed after 4pm. Creating a false and fictitious sexual reason for me to kill her is disgustingly homophobic as well as wrong, as proven in court. how could [el director y co-showrunner] Campos create a scene that was completely refuted in trial testimony? That shows his total disregard for the truth and his denigration of my bisexuality. He made up a reason to kill Kathleen based on my bisexuality. That also smears Kathleen, who was a kind and understanding person.”
Will there be legal repercussions? Peterson comments:
“What I hope is that an entertainment lawyer can at least reach an out-of-court settlement with Antonio [Campos], Annapurna and HBO so my kids can get the money. But the real goal is to stop this. The HBO series, the more I hear about it, it’s just horrible. It’s terrible. In it, my kids are fighting, and totally different stories are being made about them and that’s wrong.”
ABOUT THE CASE:
Kathleen was found in Peterson’s mansion in Durham, North Carolina, at the bottom of the staircase on December 9, 2001. Marine Corps veteran Michael was a novelist, newspaper columnist and mayoral candidate when he was convicted of Kathleen’s 2003 murder. Prosecutors argued that Michael beat his wife to death; he claimed that she fell after consuming alcohol and Valium. However, an autopsy concluded that Kathleen died from multiple injuries, including being hit to the back of the head with a blunt object. Michael spent years in prison before his conviction was overturned. In 2017, he pleaded guilty to the murder to one count of involuntary manslaughter and walked free with time served.
Lestrade’s docuseries won a Peabody Award in 2005. The full documentary is available on Netflix.