Leigh Janiak has moved on from fictional killers to real-life crime. Deadline announced that the Fear Street writer and director is now attached to direct two episodes of HBO Max’s upcoming limited series, The Staircase, based on the true-crime docuseries of the same name. The eight-episode series stars Colin Firth as novelist Michael Peterson, a man convicted of murdering his wife Kathleen (Toni Collette) after suspicious circumstances arose surrounding her death.
Janiak is following up her winning streak as the director of Netflix’s hit Fear Street film trilogy, joining Christine director Antonio Campos, who will direct the other six episodes of the series.
The Staircase is based both on the French docuseries, along with various books and follow-up reports on the case of Peterson, who was convicted of murder in 2003, after claiming his wife had drunkenly fallen down the stairs — until police discovered she had sustained significant injuries from a blunt object.
Janiak is no stranger to television, having directed and executive produced Lauren Oliver’s Panic pilot for Amazon, as well as an episode of Outcast for Cinemax, and multiple episodes of Scream for MTV, staying true to her horror roots. She expressed her excitement for the project in a statement to Deadline:
“The Staircase has haunted me since I watched the brilliant documentary years ago. I couldn’t be more excited and honored to help Antonio and Maggie bring their vision to life as we show new sides to this complex, intense story.”
The Staircase is written and executive produced by Campos and Maggie Cohn, who will also serve as showrunners. Rosemarie DeWitt, Juliette Binoche, Parker Posey, Odessa Young, Patrick Schwarzenegger, Dane DeHaan, Olivia DeJonge, Sophie Turner, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Tim Guinee are also set to star.
The series is a co-production between HBO Max and Annapurna TV. No release date for the drama has been announced, but audiences can watch the original docuseries (as well as its follow-up) on Netflix.