‘The Staircase’: Antonio Campos On His Michael Peterson Obsession & Adding More Story Details [Bingeworthy Podcast]

In today’s episode of Bingeworthy, our revitalized TV and streaming podcast, co-hosts Mike DeAngelo and Rodrigo Perez dive into HBO Max’s new true-life murder series, “The Staircase.” Based on the much-buzzed-about documentary of the same name, the show follows the true story of Michael Peterson, a crime novelist accused of killing his wife Kathleen after she is found dead at the bottom of a staircase in their home, and the 16-year judicial battle that followed. The show premieres on HBO Max on May 5th and stars Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sophie Turner, Dane Dehaan, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Parker Posey, Juliette Binoche, Odessa Young, and more. (read our review here). 

After our hosts discuss the show, writer/director/showrunner Antonio Campos, known for “Christine” (2016) and “The Devil All the Time” (2020), among other indie arthouse works, stops by to talk about why he had to make the series and shed more light on the story of Michael and Kathleen Peterson.

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“In 2008, I had my first feature come out called ‘Afterschool‘ and I was sent the first eight episodes of [‘The Staircase’], of what is now a 13-part series – at that time there were only eight.” Campos shared. “So, I sat and watched eight hours of this thing and I was like, ‘this is amazing.’ I never had the ability to sort of live in a story for that long like this and all of the different facets that it covered, but I was so fascinated by Michael Peterson. And despite that I had just spent eight hours with him, I still felt like there was all this stuff I didn’t know. And I think that mystery had me leaning in from the very beginning.”

Not only was Antonio Campos obsessed with the documentary and the filmmakers, but he even wanted them to become a part of his narrative for a specific reason.

“One of the things that was presented to me was that the documentarians had different opinions about what happened – that the producer and the director don’t agree,” Campos explained. “And I thought that was amazing. I thought that the idea of these two French people coming to Durham, North Carolina during the whole ‘Freedom Fries’ era, post-9/11, was just an amazing kind of set-up for a story. And over the years I just became more entrenched in this to the point where I’m in episode nine of the documentary…And no matter what came out, it never did justice, in my opinion, to all of the stuff that’s there.”

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“The Staircase” debuts today, May 5, on HBO Max. You can listen to the entire podcast conversation below:

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