The ‘Staircase’ Filmmakers Feel ‘Betrayed’ by HBO Max’s Adaptation

What separates? Jean-Xavier de Lestrade‘S Stair From other crime documentaries is its incredible counter. While recording the defense strategy of Michael Peterson, The novelist accused of murdering his wife, Kathleen, in 2001, de Lestrade’s cameras captured strategy meetings inside Peterson’s home, Durham, North Carolina – the same house where Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of the stairs. De Lestrade, an Oscar-winning documentary writer, had to agree to the terms of Peterson’s defense attorney, David Rudolf—For them, that footage would be sent to France every night before subpoenas could be prosecuted. But the notes are worth it: After exceptional reviews, Stair won the Peabody Award in 2005 and was anointed in the pantheon documentary.

So a few years later, when a young filmmaker named Antonio Campos contacted de Lestrade to express his admiration for the documentary and his desire to adapt it into a dramatic series, de Lestrade paid for amateur access. After talking with Campos and reviewing his previous work, de Lestrade opened Stair archive — share unused exceptionally cool video footage, notes, and tips. He said Campos even spent a few days with Stair while they filmed additional episodes in 2011. For many years, they remained in touch.

This past December, when Campos and the HBO Max team flew to Paris to shoot some scenes for the long-planned adaptation, Stairof the editor, Sophie Brunet, even opened the door of his own home to welcome some filmmakers over for dinner.

“We gave [Campos] all the access he wanted, and I really trust the man,” said de Lestrade Vanity Fair Third, it sounds like shell shock. “So that’s why I’m so upset today, because I feel that I’ve been betrayed in some way.”

De Lestrade is credited on the series as co-executive and producer, but states that the title is nominal; he was paid for the project, but said he left all creative decisions to Campos.

“Because I trusted Antonio, I didn’t ask him to read the script. I respect his freedom as an author, a creator, a filmmaker. And I never asked to see the episodes before they were shown because I was pretty confident,” explained de Lestrade.

Campos’s adaptation Stair premiered on HBO Max last week — dramatizing the events of de Lestrade’s original, but with a meta twist. In addition to following Peterson (played by Strait of Colin) and his family, there is a second storyline depicting de Lestrade (do Vincent Vermignon) and his crew as they filmed the documentary. De Lestrade knew about that storyline and was pleased with it when he said Campos framed it as a vehicle to explore “how we approach truth.”

Jean Lastrade (Vincent Vermignon)’s version of HBO Max is filming Stair documentary.Courtesy of HBO Max.

But according to de Lestrade and other members of the original Stairgroup of – manufacturer Allyson Lucak, editor Scott Stevenson, and Rudolf, who appears on screen as Peterson’s defense attorney — the fifth episode of the remake, “The Beating Heart,” which airs next week, blurs out fact and fiction. recklessly. In it, some scenes claim that eight originals Stair episodes have been edited by Brunet (Juliette Binoche)-True life Stair The editor opened her home to the producers of HBO Max while they were filming in Paris — while she was entangled in a romantic relationship with Peterson.

In real life, Brunet is romantically involved with Peterson. De Lestrade has been outspoken about this in the past, and Peterson even wrote about the relationship in his 2019 book, Behind the Stairs. But the four of them, and Brunet herself in an email to Vanity Fairconfirmed that Brunet and Peterson did not begin respectively until she left the documentary as planned to edit another project, 2004 Saint Lola. De Lestrade did not expect Stair to bring in a lot of footage; he collaborated with two other editors, Stevenson and Jean-Pierre Block, to cut what will be a total of eight episodes. (Years later, de Lestrade filmed five more episodes of Stair. Brunet edited all of them — the last three, which she says she edited after she and Peterson split.)

“My relationship with Michael never affected my editing,” Brunet wrote. “I never cut out anything that could harm him. I have such a big view of my work that I’m even remotely tempted to do anything like that. And Jean would never let that happen. It’s his movie and I respect that very much. And again: I had absolutely no dog in the fight for the first eight episodes. For the following people, I think one can find a great deal of sympathy for Michael’s family in them. But that is Jean’s point as well as mine. Whatever you think or believe about Michael, you can’t deny that the circumstances for his children are horrible and unfair. As for the final three episodes, I no doubt want to favor Michael, since we broke up before I finished editing. ” The ‘Staircase’ Filmmakers Feel ‘Betrayed’ by HBO Max’s Adaptation

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