Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade won critical acclaim for his 2005 documentary “The Staircase”, chronicling the trial of novelist Michael Peterson, accused of murdering his wife in 2001.
The true-crime story is now being dramatized in a new HBO Max series, also called “The Staircase”, starring Colin Firth as Peterson and Toni Collette as his wife, Kathleen Peterson.
However, de Lestrade is coming forward to declare he’s no fan of the new series, telling Vanity Fair that he feels “betrayed” by filmmaker Antonio Campos, who created the HBO Max series.
“I have to protect my work,” filmmaker de Lestrade explained. “A series on HBO like this will get huge attention. And if people think what they’re watching is true, that’s really damaging for us.”
When Campos reached out to de Lestrade about adapting the original documentary (which was expanded into a documentary series in 2018) as a TV drama, de Lestrade was happy to cooperate, sending Campos archival footage and notes.
“We gave [Campos] all the access he wanted, and I really trusted the man,” de Lestrade said. “So that’s why today I’m very uncomfortable, because I feel that I’ve been betrayed in a way.”