EXCLUSIVE: Michael Stuhlbarg is set as a lead in The Staircase, HBO Max’s limited series drama adaptation based on the true-crime docuseries. He joins previously announced Colin Firth, Toni Collette, Rosemarie DeWitt, Juliette Binoche, Parker Posey, Odessa Young, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, and Sophie Turner.
The eight-episode series from Christine director Antonio Campos and American Crime Story writer Maggie Cohn explores the life of Michael Peterson (Firth), his sprawling North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife, Kathleen (Collette).
Stuhlbarg will play David Rudolf, Michael Peterson’s criminal defense attorney.
The series is based on the docuseries and various books and reports 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.
Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s docuseries premiered in 2004 and was released on Netflix as a 13-episode series in 2018.
The Staircase is written and executive produced by Campos and Cohn, who also serve as showrunners. The series is a co-production between HBO Max and Annapurna TV.
Stuhlbarg most recently appeared in the feature film Shirley and in Luca Guadagnino’s Oscar-winning Call Me By Your Name. He recently wrapped work on the Hulu limited series Dopesick.
On the film side, he’ll next be seen in Guadagnino’s Bones and All and drama Rothko, directed by Sam Taylor-Johnson. Stuhlbarg is repped by ICM Partners and Viking Entertainment.