There’s plenty of drama in Netflix’s new docu-series “The Staircase” — and plenty offscreen, as well.
The film’s editor Sophie Brunet reportedly fell in love with Michael Peterson not long after he was accused of murdering his wife, and they apparently had an affair which lasted more a decade, according to the film’s director.
This isn’t news to Durham, North Carolina residents, the town where Peterson’s wife Kathleen was found dead at the bottom of a staircase on December 9, 2001. He was convicted of first-degree murder in 2003 and spent nearly a decade behind bars. He was granted a new trial in 2011, which was scheduled to begin on May 8, 2017. But, in February, just months before the scheduled retrial, Peterson submitted an Alford plea to the reduced charge of manslaughter. He was sentenced to time already served.
It has long been rumored that Peterson and Brunet were romantically linked as Brunet worked on the documentary series, which later aired on Netflix, chronicling the death and Peterson’s trial, according to The News & Observer in Raleigh. French gossip sites have also long hinted at a romance between the filmmaker and her subject.
"The Staircase" Director Jean-Xavier de Lestrade confirmed their relationship in May, stating that Brunet fell in love with Peterson while as they worked together on the film.
"This is one of the incredible things that happened during those 15 years. Life is really full of surprises,” De Lestrade told L'Express, a French newsweekly. “They had a real story, which lasted until May 2017. But she never let her own feelings affect the course of editing."
Brunet flew from Paris to Durham, North Carolina, every “two or three months” for four years after Peterson was sentenced to prison in 2003, according to a 2008 story in Le Monde, a French publication.
The alleged affair is not mentioned in “The Staircase.”
Brunet has edited a number of movies, according to her IMDB page, including the 2013 film, “Blue is the Warmest Color.”
[Photo: Getty Images]
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