HBO Max has cast French actor Vincent Vermignon (Beyond Existence) in its true crime drama series The Staircase from Antonio Campos (Christine) and Maggie Cohn (American Crime Story).
Vermignon will play Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the documentarian who made the 2004 docuseries on which the HBO Max series is based. He investigated the case and went back to film subsequent documentaries of Michael Peterson and his family in 2012 and 2016 for Peterson’s final trial and release from prison. He interviewed family members, friends and the defence team and even was allowed access inside the courtroom during the original trial.
Vermignon will star alongside Colin Firth (The Kindsman), Toni Collette (Knives Out), Juliette Binoche (Between Two Worlds), Rosemarie DeWitt (Little Fires Everywhere), Parker Posey (Lost in Space), Sophie Turner (Game of Thrones), Dane DeHaan (Lissey’s Story), Patrick Schwarzenegger (Moxie), Olivia DeJonge (The Society), Odessa Young (The Stand) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire). The Staircase focuses on “the life of Michael Peterson (Firth), his sprawling North Carolina family and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen (Collette).”
The series is based 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.”
The docuseries on the case was made by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade in 2004 and got renewed attention with Peterson’s release and Netflix bringing the series to their platform in 2018.
Campos and Cohn have written the eight-episode limited series and are also serving as showrunners and executive producers. HBO Max is producing with Annapurna TV.
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