AceShowbiz - Toni Collette has been cast as the wife of killer Michael Peterson on a new HBO Max drama. The Australian actress will team up with Colin Firth for "The Staircase" - the eight-episode series which focuses on the 2001 death of Kathleen Peterson.
Michael Peterson was convicted of the murder of his wife after claiming she died after falling down the stairs, high on alcohol and Valium. An autopsy suggested she died from multiple injuries, including blunt force trauma to the back of her head. His charge was eventually reduced to manslaughter in 2017 and he was released from prison.
"The Staircase" is based on the true-crime docuseries of the same name which premiered in 2004. The docuseries was released as a 13-episode show in 2018 on Netflix. The new drama project, in the meantime, has "Christine" director Antonio Campos and "American Crime Story" writer Maggie Cohn serving as its writers and executive producers.
Campos himself has been tapped to direct six of the eight episodes.
Meanwhile, Collette will make her directorial debut with an adaptation of Lily King's bestseller "Writers & Lovers". The "Muriel's Wedding" star is also adapting the screenplay with Nick Payne and executive producing.
"I have been wanting to direct for quite some time but have been a bit busy with my day job," Collette told Deadline. "l couldn't be more thrilled to be bringing Lily King's beautiful, funny, moving novel to life."
The story revolves around an aspiring novelist who finds herself dating two men at the same time, following the death of her mother.