HBO Max’ The Staircase “Betrayed” Jean-Xavier de Lestrade

Photo: Courtesy of HBO Max

Staircases: They’re either up to you or they’re failing you, and apparently from HBO Max The stairs is no exception — at least not for the creators of the original hit crime documentaries of the same name, who feel misrepresented in the new show. “I have to protect my work,” said filmmaker Jean-Xavier de Lestrade vanity fair. “A show like this on HBO is going to draw a lot of attention. And when people think what they see is true, it’s really damaging to us.” His original 2005 documentary follows the trial of writer Michael Peterson, who was accused of killing his wife, Kathleen , after being found dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. De Lestrade’s team were granted access to legal strategy sessions held in the same house where the alleged murder occurred.

When filmmaker Antonio Campos asked for an adaptation of the original Stairs As a dramatic series, de Lestrade sent him archival footage and notes. The pair stayed in touch for years, with Campos even briefly joining the crew as they continued to shoot Stairs Episodes in 2011. On Campos’ show, the documentary team is part of the narrative, with a plot that real-life peers believe seems biased. “We gave [Campos] all the access he wanted and I really trusted the man,” de Lestrade said. “That’s why I feel very uncomfortable today because I feel like I’ve been betrayed in a way.”

vanity fair reports that de Lestrade and several other people who worked on the original documentary had particular issues with the fifth episode of the HBO show, The Beating Heart. Several original team members say the episode falsely suggests that editor Sophie Brunet was in a relationship with Peterson while working on the footage (the relationship was real, but the couple claim it doesn’t overlap with their editing work). The show also includes scenes where he and Brunet urge the rest of the crew to edit a more likable portrayal that would help Peterson’s case. HBO did not immediately respond to requests for comment, but de Lestrade denies tampering with any footage due to personal bias. For his part, de Lestrade narrated vanity fair that he still doesn’t know if he believes Peterson, who was released from prison after an Alford plea, is guilty. Hey, there’s always the theory that the culprit was an owl. HBO Max’ The Staircase “Betrayed” Jean-Xavier de Lestrade

Lindsay Lowe

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