Collette will play Kathleen Peterson, a corporate executive, mother, stepmother of five and wife of Michael Peterson, played by Firth.
The eight-episode series from Antonio Campos, who directed the Rebecca Hall-fronted feature Christine, and American Crime Story writer Maggie Cohn, explores of life of Michael Peterson, his sprawling North Carolina family and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen.
The series is based on the docuseries and various books and reports on the case. Michael Peterson was convicted of murdering Kathleen in 2001, a charge that was reduced to manslaughter in 2017 and Peterson released from prison. He had claimed his wife died after falling down the stairs at their home after consuming alcohol and Valium, but an autopsy concluded she died from multiple injuries, including blows to the back of her head with a blunt object.
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s docuseries premiered in 2004 and was released on Netflix as a 13-episode series in 2018.
The Staircase is written and executive produced by Campos and Cohn, who also serve as showrunners. The series is a co-production between HBO Max and Annapurna TV.
Collette is next set to make her feature directorial debut with an adaptation of Lily King’s New York Times bestselling novel, Writers and Lovers for Topic Studios. Collette also is producing the pic under her Vocab Films label and is adapting the screenplay with Nick Payne (The Crown). Collette’s upcoming projects include the Netflix series, Pieces of Her, and the Guillermo del Toro-directed thriller Nightmare Alley opposite Cate Blanchett and Bradley Cooper. Collette is repped by Jen Turner at Finley Management, United Management and CAA.