The eight-episode drama from Christine director Antonio Campos and American Crime Story writer Maggie Cohn explores the life of Michael Peterson (Colin Firth), his sprawling North Carolina family and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen (Toni Collette). Campos is directing six of the eight episodes.
The series is based on the docuseries and various books and reports on the case of Michael Peterson, who was convicted in 2003 of murdering Kathleen two years earlier. The charge was reduced to manslaughter in 2017, and Peterson subsequently was 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.
Rosemarie DeWitt, Juliette Binoche, Parker Posey, Odessa Young, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, Sophie Turner, Michael Stuhlbarg and Tim Guinee also star.
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.
“The Staircase has haunted me since I watched the brilliant documentary years ago” said Janiak. “I couldn’t be more excited and honored to help Antonio and Maggie bring their vision to life as we show new sides to this complex, intense story.”
Janiak is coming off the recent hit Netflix film trilogy Fear Street, which she co-wrote, directed and executive produced. Inspired by R.L. Stine’s best-selling horror series, it consists of three distinct films shot back-to-back-to-back with the same cast in three different period settings, all connected by one epic narrative. She previously directed the feature Honeymoon. On the television side, Janiak directed and executive produced Lauren Oliver’s Panic pilot for Amazon, which landed a series order. She also directed an episode of Outcast for Cinemax, along with multiple episodes of Scream for MTV. Janiak is repped by Verve and Morris Yorn Barnes.