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The Staircase Documentary Maker Feels 'Betrayed' By Creator Of Drama Series

Jake Massey

| Last updated 

The Staircase Documentary Maker Feels 'Betrayed' By Creator Of Drama Series


A new drama about the mysterious death of Kathleen Peterson has not gone down well with a man who knows the story much better than most. Watch the trailer here:


New drama The Staircase tells the story of Michael Peterson (Colin Firth) and the mysterious death of his wife.


The case was originally explored in 2004 in a docuseries by the same name, made by Jean-Xavier de Lestrade.

It picked up a Peabody Award and was rereleased by Netflix along with three additional episodes in 2018, becoming a huge hit.

Now the story is being retold in a HBO Max dramatisation created by Antonio Campos - but de Lestrade is not impressed by what he's seen.

The Frenchman sold Campos the rights to the story and gave him access to archives; however, it seems he wishes he hadn't.


He and his team's involvement in the story features in the new drama series and in episode five – which has not yet been released – they are depicted editing footage in a bid to sway the outcome of an appeal in 2006 against Peterson's life sentence.

Speaking to The Times, de Lestrade said: "I couldn’t believe it, it was so inaccurate.

"You can't know what happened that night, it is totally impossible."

The documentary team are depicted in the show. Credit: HBO Max
The documentary team are depicted in the show. Credit: HBO Max

On Friday (13 May), he sent a letter to Campos demanding that 'the offending allegations be removed from episode five before it airs publicly', or that a disclaimer is added stating that the show is only 'inspired' by real-life events.

Speaking to Vanity Fair earlier this week, the 58-year-old said: "We gave [Campos] all the access he wanted, and I really trusted the man.

"So that's why today I'm very uncomfortable, because I feel that I've been betrayed in a way."

He continued: "Because I trust Antonio, I didn't ask him to read the script.


"I was respecting his liberty as an author, as a creator, as a filmmaker. And I never asked to watch the episodes before they were shown because I was quite confident."

But now he has been left majorly irked by the end result, as he believes it undermines his original award-winning work.

He said: "I understand if you dramatise. But when you attack the credibility of my work, that's really not acceptable to me.

"It's alleged that we cut the documentary series in a way to help Peterson's appeal, which is not true.


"I can't tell you if he had something to do with the death of Kathleen, because I don't know."

Campos is yet to publicly respond to the criticism, though he previously said: "Once I started to look at the documentary and see the unused footage and endless amounts of research that had been done over the years, it was very clear that there was more than there was on screen."

LADbible has contacted HBO Max for comment.

Featured Image Credit: Sky/Canal+

Topics: TV and Film

Jake Massey
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