New HBO Max true crime series casts Colin Firth in lead role

Colin Firth in Bridget Jones's Baby
(Image credit: Universal)

Colin Firth will star in The Staircase, a new true crime drama for HBO Max.

The limited series will explore the life of novelist Michael Peterson (played by Firth), his North Carolina family, and the suspicious death of his wife in 2001. The drama is based on the true crime documentary of the same name, which originally aired in 2004 and went on to inspire shows like Serial. Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade revisited the story twice for updates on legal developments, and Netflix released The Staircase as a 13-episode series in 2018. 

The Staircase has been in the works at Annapurna Television since 2019, with Harrison Ford originally in talks to star as Peterson. The Devil All the Time director Antonio Campos and American Crime Story producer Maggie Cohn are on board as showrunners and writers, with Campos directing six of the eight episodes.

"This has been a project I have been working on in one way or another since 2008," Campos said in a statement. "It's been a long and winding road, but well worth the wait to be able to find partners like HBO Max, Annapurna, co-showrunner Maggie Cohn and the incredible Colin Firth to dramatize such a complex true-life story."

This will be Firth's first lead TV role since his breakout as Mr Darcy in the BBC's Pride and Prejudice in 1995, instead sticking to big-screen parts. Known for his roles in popular franchises like Kingsman and Mamma Mia!, he most recently appeared in the war drama 1917 and opposite Stanley Tucci in Supernova. His next role is also in a war drama – the upcoming Operation Mincemeat, which is coming to Netflix soon.

While we wait for The Staircase to arrive on the streamer, make sure you've caught up on all the best TV shows of 2020 first. If you're more of a listener, then be sure to check out our list of the best true crime podcasts available right now.

Entertainment Writer

I’m an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering everything film and TV-related across the Total Film and SFX sections. I help bring you all the latest news and also the occasional feature too. I’ve previously written for publications like HuffPost and i-D after getting my NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism.