Being portrayed by a big-named actor can be hard, especially when the subject is as dark as a murder investigation, as it was with Michael Peterson. Peterson is portrayed by Colin Firth in the HBO drama The Staircase, which is a fictionalized look at the very real death of Peterson’s wife, Kathleen. As it turns out, the real Peterson is not too happy with Firth’s portrayal.
In a new interview with Variety, Peterson admitted that he didn’t watch the series, saying, “There was this two-and-a-half-minute trailer and I turned it off after one minute because there are my children screaming at each other. And I said, ‘What family is this? Where did this come from?’ So, I did not watch anymore.”
Though he didn’t watch, he did have some words for Firth. When Variety asked if Firth reached out to Peterson for research, Peterson responded:
No, he did not. That was his choice. Whether I would talk to him? I probably would have. I will forever be known as Colin Firth. It could be worse, I suppose. He’s not my favorite actor. Get Brad Pitt! But to be fair, I haven’t seen his portrayal, but I heard he got [my] voice right and [my] mannerisms. But he didn’t capture my energy or my humor. 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 and that’s fine. I’m not denigrating him, but I would have thought about talking to him. He said he wanted to do it himself — make his own creature, 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.
This is absurd since there are so many great, non-dull performances by Firth, who famously starred alongside Amanda Bynes in 2003’s coming-of-age tale What A Girl Wants. But to be fair, it must be hard seeing someone so British playing yourself on screen.
While Peterson says he expected the drama surrounding him, he is more concerned with his family, who have been in the spotlight for decades since the fatal incident. Peterson was eventually found guilty, though there were many theories that led both family friends and true crime fans to believe there was more to the store, including the Owl Theory, which Peterson now says is “very conceivable.”
When [a neighbor] Larry told me about an owl, I thought, “What in the world?” But then he sent the pictures of the autopsy with the owl talons superimposed over and I thought, “‘Oh my god.’ It’s a real possibility,” Peterson admitted. “It’s a real probability that Kathleen went and put those [Christmas decorations] outside right before she went to bed. She thinks, ‘Let me just go put them out.’ So, she runs out. She puts them up and then maybe an owl attacks her. Very conceivable.”
We will never know.