Toni Collette – The Staircase: Despite the tragedy, it was a positive experience for me

Celebrity actress Toni Collette (Nightmare Alley, The Hours, Emma) stars in The Staircase, the new limited-edition Max Originals series, which debuted on HBO Max, inspired by True Facts: The death of Kathleen Peterson, the trial ends in a conviction for her. Spouse writer Michael Peterson, and the documentary that followed. Executive-produced by showrunners Antonio Campos, Maggie Cohn, Toni Collette and Colin Firth plays the two roles: Kathleen and Michael Peterson, in a story about their married lives, the people they were close to and much more.

What drew you to The Staircase?
TC: It was clearly a great project. The scenario was amazing. Antonio Campos is incredibly talented. Colin Firth signed on for the role. I had some concerns. I had heard about the documentary, but hadn’t seen it. I was worried that Michael Peterson was a bit of a narcissist, and I didn’t want to promote him. In the documentary, it’s all about him and the things he’s been through, and Kathleen is very objective. I think the opportunity to learn more about who she was before her death was important if we were to talk about the balance between their relationship and her life, which ended tragically – we don’t have all the information about it – but whatever. Still tragic. She was young, full of life and the force of nature. He was an incredible matriarchal force and a wonderful and merciful leader in action. He lived a long life and then disappeared. If it’s an accident, it’s something that reminds us of how fragile life is, if it’s not an accident, it’s just gruesome.

How did you try to find out who Kathleen was? You had the hardest job ever…
TC: No, I don’t agree, because I have some freedom to interpret it. Obviously there was responsibility, but there was also freedom, because it was no longer alive. There were a lot of videos and information and the scripts were obviously well documented because Antonio has been very passionate about the topic for years. Appears in the documentary and is mad! I had a lot to work with and it was so easy. It was a pleasure to surround you with Antonio and Colin. Despite the tragedy, it was a positive experience for me. It was a great job. with all its elements.

What is the most important thing to you when it comes to how you interpret it?
TC: What I love about this project is that it’s not just about her death, it’s about destroying the marriage even before that. There were some lies. We do not know what information Kathleen had or what information she did not have; Why was she conscious or not? But the flaw in their relationship was great. He gave so much and worked hard. She was the emotional anchor for all of these kids, she was very attached to everyone at work and she really cared about them. He had an enormous life, full of passion, had written a few modest books and done very little. He would rather have fun than work. She was not there for the kids as she was. I don’t think he is as conscious or emotionally connected as she was, but she was clearly a hardworking worker. It could have been an accident in the middle because she was so exhausting and exhausting. Despite her knowledge of Michael’s bisexuality, I don’t think she knew exactly what he was doing out of wedlock. There were a lot of things that bothered me. To be able to bring all these things into their common reality, to be able to shed more light, helps reveal what could really happen, because things weren’t so rosy between them. It was hard and she was unhappy and disappointed.

What was it like filming the different ways you could have died?
TC: It’s kind of funny, because dying only once in the story is intense – but I’ve died three times! It was kind of weird to be mentally processed, but like any other scene, you can explore it in depth and try to bring something real in there. To be honest, physically it was a lot of pressure, because I could only fire a double. Given the blood and makeup we got, that meant we couldn’t do it over and over again. I kept repeating and then I got ready and then got the blood machine ready and there was a lot of choreography in the middle because of the places where the bloodstains would have to show up on the walls. I shot some of these scenes at 4 or 5 in the morning, just because of the schedule, but that’s how it is. I think as I get older, I realize more and more that your brain can’t tell if something is real or not. So, if I really feel like I’m having this, I’ll take care of myself. I wish I had started doing this earlier, but now I know how to do it (laughs).

The true crime story is so saturated these days – what makes The Staircase so special compared to the rest of the show?
TC: I’m not attracted to that at all. It’s not something I’m interested in or follow. But I think Antonio and Maggie have created something very sincere and beautiful about family and it’s about love that’s really complex and well-established. That feeling of being at home. This quirky and somewhat local vibe is so real you can’t help but take in. It’s a strange word to use, but there is a sense of security that I think is very tragic. The family feels very connected. That was very important to Antonio. He calls us to his house almost every weekend. We’ve all spent a lot of time together, and I think it’s on screen. He didn’t feel compelled. Sometimes when you’re working on something and trying to get them all together it just doesn’t seem to work, but here it all happened so organically and it was totally fun. Everyone wanted the best for the show. I think it starts with people and Antonio has created a great atmosphere for everyone. There were not only actors in his house, there was the whole team. The experience was really special.

What kind of reactions do you want the chain to have; How do you like people to stay after seeing it?
TC: I watched the first two episodes with two good friends, and at the end of both, neither of us could stop thinking about it, and we looked at each other, “Can you believe it?” I don’t want to sound like a great actress, but I really feel like she’s good on another level; It is a very special feeling. I can’t say exactly why, but sometimes things build their own energy. When it comes to documentaries, you’d think you’d see something real, but Antonio came up with something more real, in a partially fictional version of the story. This sounds amazing to me.

Leave a Comment