HBO Max has cast French actor Vincent Vermignon (Beyond existence) in his real crime drama series The stairs by Antonio Campos (Christine) and Maggie Cohn (american crime story).
Vermignon plays Jean-Xavier de Lestrade, the documentary filmmaker who made the 2004 docuseries on which the HBO Max series is based. He investigated the case and returned to subsequent documentaries of Michael Peterson and his family in 2012 and 2016 for Peterson’s final trial and his release from prison. He interviewed family members, friends and the defense team, and was even granted access to the courtroom during the original trial.
Vermignon plays alongside Colin Firth (the congener), Toni Collette (Blades off), 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 community), Odessa Young (The score) and Michael Stuhlbarg (Boardwalk Empire). The stairs focuses on “the life of Michael Peterson (Firth), his extended family in North Carolina, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen (Collette).”
The series is based on the case of Michael Peterson, who was convicted in 2003 for the murder of Kathleen, two years earlier. The charge was reduced to manslaughter in 2017 and Peterson was subsequently released from prison. He had claimed his wife died after falling down stairs at their home after consuming alcohol and Valium, but an autopsy concluded she died of multiple injuries, including blows to the back of the head with a blunt object.
The docuseries on the case was created by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade in 2004 and received renewed attention with the release of Peterson and Netflix who brought the series to their platform in 2018.
Campos and Cohn wrote the eight-episode limited series and also serve as showrunners and executive producers. HBO Max produces with Annapurna TV.
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