True crime aficionados around the world are currently obsessed with HBO’s The Staircase which tells the story of writer and aspiring politician Michael Peterson and his wife Kathleen Peterson, who sadly perished at the bottom of their staircase. The drama series follows on from Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s 2004 documentary Death On The Staircase and attempts to uncover what really happened to Kathleen. Did she simply fall? Or was she murdered by the only other person in the house at the time–her husband?
To tell a story of this magnitude, you need a stellar cast to match, and The Staircase does not disappoint. You may have seen some of these stars somewhere before.
Colin Firth – Michael Peterson
Now everyone has seen this face before and if you haven’t, get out from under that rock, and check out the marvel that is Colin Firth. He portrays Michael Peterson, a former novelist who is in the midst of his political campaign, which threatens to expose the secrets he keeps.
There are far too many Colin Firth roles to list, however, some of his best and most well-known roles include Jamie Bennett in Love Actually, Mark Darcy in Bridget Jones’s Diary, Mr. Darcy in Pride & Prejudice, and King George VI in The King’s Speech, which won him the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Toni Collette – Kathleen Peterson
Aussie-born Toni Collette plays Michael’s wife Kathleen who meets an untimely end at the bottom of the staircase. In a series of flashbacks, Kathleen is portrayed as a successful businesswoman who seems to be the main breadwinner in the family.
Toni Collette shot to fame in the Australian classic Muriel’s Wedding, going on to star in a variety of big TV and movie roles. She played Sheryl Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine, Fiona Brewer in About A Boy, Lynn Sear in The Sixth Sense, and most recently Joni Thrombey in Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.
Michael Stuhlbarg – David Rudolf
Michael Stuhlbarg plays criminal defense attorney David Rudolf, who is committed to spinning the events of Kathleen’s death in Michael’s favor. He leads Michael’s legal team in his defense and guides the family on how to best present.
You might have seen Michael Stuhlbarg on screen very recently in another true-story-turned-drama. He stars as Arthur Sackler in Dopesick, which explores the origins of the opioid epidemic in America. Stuhlbarg also popped up in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness as Nicodemus West. Other standout roles include Arnold Rothstein in Boardwalk Empire, Andy Hertzfeld in Steve Jobs, and Mr. Pearlman in Call Me By Your Name.
Patrick Schwarzenegger – Todd Peterson
Patrick Schwarzenegger plays Michael’s youngest son Todd Peterson who must step up and take charge of the family in Michael’s absence. He is the first one to find Michael with his stepmother Kathleen on the night of her death.
If the name didn’t give it away, Patrick is the son of mega movie star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Following in his father’s footsteps, Patrick has starred in a range of lead and supporting roles including Mitchell Wilson in Amy Poehler’s Moxie, Ben Hayhurst in The Long Road Home, Jeff in Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse, and Charlie Reed in Midnight Sun.
Sophie Turner – Margaret Ratliff
Sophie Turner plays Michael and Kathleen’s adopted daughter Margaret Ratliff. The Petersons adopted Margaret and her sister Martha after the girls’ mother, and The Petersons’ next-door neighbor, died after a fall down the stairs… coincidence?
Sophie Turner has already played two huge roles in the world of fantasy and sci-fi. She starred as Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones and as a young Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocolypse & X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Turner also played the titular role in the thriller Josie. Oh, and she’s married to heartthrob Joe Jonas.
Odessa Young – Martha Ratliff
Odessa Young plays Michael and Kathleen’s other adopted daughter Martha Ratliff. Martha is Margaret’s biological sister. She goes off to college right before her stepmother’s death but must return to attend court proceedings.
Odessa Young recently starred as Frannie Goldsmith in the Stephen King adaptation The Stand on Amazon Prime. She played the titular role in Looking For Grace and starred as Rose Nemser alongside fellow cast member Michael Stulhbarg in the Shirley Jackson quasi-biopic Shirley.
Dane DeHaan – Clayton Peterson
Dane DeHaan plays Michael’s troubled eldest son Clayton Peterson. During Spring Break, Clayton is arrested for theft and vandalism after stealing equipment to make a fake ID and leaving a pipe bomb behind which he alleged was rigged not to detonate. Despite being the eldest, his younger brother Todd is charged with responsibility for the family in their father’s absence.
Dane DeHaan is probably most famous for his portrayal of Harry Osborn a.k.a. Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2. He recently starred in Amazon Prime’s cocaine-fuelled drama ZeroZeroZero as Chris Lynwood. DeHaan’s other major roles include Andrew Demter in Chronicle, Lockhart in A Cure For Wellness, and Jason Glanton in A Place Beyond The Pines.
Olivia DeJonge – Caitlin Atwater
Olivia DeJonge plays Kathleen’s only biological daughter Caitlin Atwater. Believing the worst of her stepfather Michael, Caitlin moves in with her aunts, Kathleen’s sisters, and sides with the prosecution in the battle for justice for her mother.
Australian-born Olivia DeJonge has starred in a handful of roles including Elle Tomkins in The Society, Becca Jamison in M. Night Shyamalan‘s The Visit, and Ashley in Better Watch Out. DeJonge is set to star in her biggest role yet as Priscilla Presley in Baz Luhrmann’s upcoming biopic Elvis.
Parker Posey – Freda Black
Parker Posey portrays local prosecutor Freda Black alongside district attorney Jim Hardin, played by Cullen Moss. She is known for her strong southern accent and fabulous eye makeup.
Parker Posey has starred in a whole sack of franchise films including Scream 3 as Jennifer Jolie, Blade Trinity as Danica Talos and Superman Returns as Kitty Kowalski. Posey recently played June Harris in the TV series Lost In Space, as well as guest-starring in Boston Legal, Will & Grace, Parks & Recreation, and New Girl.
Juliette Binoche – Sophie Brunet
French actress Juliette Binoche plays film editor Sophie Brunet. She works on editing Jean-Xavier de Lestrade’s documentary and forms a bond with an incarcerated Michael through letters and postcards, eventually visiting the prison to meet him in person.
Fans may recognize the beguiling Juliette Binoche who starred as Hana opposite Ralph Fiennes in The English Patient, or as Vianne Rocher opposite Johnny Depp in Chocolat. She also stars as supporting character Sandra Brody alongside Bryan Cranston and Elizabeth Olsen in the 2014 film Godzilla.
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