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What Michael Peterson Really Thinks About HBO Max's The Staircase

HBO Max's adaptation of "The Staircase," Jean-Xavier de Lestrade's Peabody-winning docuseries, has officially ended, with its eighth and final episode airing on June 9. We already know how de Lestrade and his film team feel about Antonio Campos' miniseries, but what about the man who inspired it all? What does Michael Peterson think? 

According to Variety, Peterson hasn't even seen HBO's "The Staircase." And he has several reasons why.

"Oh God, no," Peterson said in an interview after being asked if he watched any episodes. "There was this two-and-a-half-minute trailer and I turned it off after one minute," he said. "I feel I have a really good understanding of the series from people, lawyers, friends and journalists. I can read about it — that's awful enough. But to see it. No, no, no. I couldn't do that." So, based on what people have been telling him, what does Peterson really think about the HBO Max series?

Peterson hates how The Staircase portrays his family and calls the series 'homophobic'

According to Michael Peterson, the scenes in HBO Max's "The Staircase" that show his family fighting are completely wrong. He also disagrees with the depictions of his sons Todd (Patrick Schwarzenegger) and Clayton (Dane DeHaan), as well as the portrayal of his alleged victim and wife Kathleen (Toni Collette). 

"It's just an appalling desecration of their lives," Peterson told Variety. "Apparently my son, Todd, I guess he's drunk and saying things and the same way with Clayton, my understanding is they have this guy [DeHaan] with bags under his eyes and I'm told that he looks like a drugged out individual. Well, that's not my son." Furthermore, Peterson accused HBO of being "grossly homophobic" with its portrayal of his bisexuality and decision to include a scene in "The Staircase" where Kathleen finds gay pornography on Peterson's computer right before her death. 

"I've heard from many people including my attorney that the sex scenes in the HBO series are both wrong and salacious," Peterson said. "That completely fabricated episode with me killing Kathleen is grossly homophobic when she finds pornography on my computer late at night, though the prosecution expert testified that the computer was not accessed after 4 p.m. Creating a false and fictional sexual reason for me to kill her is disgustingly homophobic as well as wrong, as proven in court." But that's not where Peterson's contempt for HBO Max's "The Staircase" stops.

Peterson says Colin Firth is 'dull as dirt'

While speaking to Variety, Michael Peterson was asked what his thoughts were on the actor playing him in "The Staircase" – Colin Firth — and whether they had interacted beforehand. The Nashville native and novelist didn't mince words, saying: "No, he did not. That was his choice ... To me, Colin's a great actor but I can't think of any roles that weren't dull as dirt that he's ever played."

After hearing of Firth's involvement in "The Staircase" adaptation, Peterson said he was told that the 2011 Oscar winner wanted to do the entire portrayal on his own, without any influence or support from him. "Make his own creature," said Peterson. "I thought, 'What are you talking about? I'm the real person. If you want to know what I think and feel, read my book or talk to me.'" When pressed by Variety's Addie Morfoot about showrunner Antonio Campos' acknowledgment of fictionalizing elements of the story for Hollywood and HBO Max, Peterson pushed back — saying certain measures could have been taken to keep his family's innocence intact. 

"At least make a movie with fictional characters not named Michael Peterson and not named Clayton, Todd, Margaret, and Martha," Peterson said. "That would have been OK."