Colin Firth will play Michael Peterson in a series adaptation of “The Staircase,” which has been ordered to series at HBO Max.
HBO Max has ordered eight episodes of the limited series, which is based on the docuseries of the same name and various books and reports on the Peterson case. Peterson was accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen, in 2001. He claimed she died after falling down the stairs at their home, but police suspected he bludgeoned her to death and staged the scene to look like an accident. The docuseries was originally released in 2004, with creator Jean-Xavier de Lestrade updating with new information years later. Netflix released it as a 13-episode series in 2018.
Variety exclusively reported that the scripted series was in development back in 2019. “The Staircase” is written and executive produced by showrunners Antonio Campos and Maggie Cohn. Campos will also direct six of the eight episodes. The series is a co-production between HBO Max and Annapurna Television.
“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,” said Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max. “With the enormously talented Colin Firth at the center of this adaptation, the story of ‘The Staricase’ will continue to captivate audiences with every bizarre twist and turn.”
The role will mark Firth’s first regular television role in years. He is primarily known for his feature roles, including his Academy Award-winning turn in “The King’s Speech.” He was also nominated for an Academy Award in 2010 for “A Single Man.” Other notable feature credits for Firth include the “Kingsman,” “Bridget Jones’ Diary,” and the “Mamma Mia” films.
He is repped by Independent Talent in the U.K. and CAA in the U.S.
“This has been a project I have been working on in one way or another since 2008,” Campos said. “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.”
Campos’ previous TV credits include executive producing and directing multiple episodes of the hit USA Network crime anthology series “The Sinner,” including the pilot and Season 2 premiere. He also directed an episode during the first season of the Marvel-Netflix series “The Punisher.” On the feature side, he wrote and directed films such as “Simon Killer” and “Afterschool.” His film “The Devil All the Time,” based on the novel by Donald Ray Pollock, was released in 2020.
Campos is repped by WME, Management 360 and Nelson Davis. Cohn is repped by Management 360 and CAA.
“Annapurna couldn’t be more excited to partner with HBO Max, Antonio Campos, Maggie Cohn and Colin Firth on this unbelievable true-life saga,” said Sue Naegle, chief content officer of Annapurna. “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.”