Academy Award winner Colin Firth has been cast to play Michael Peterson, a Durham novelist convicted of killing his wife Kathleen Peterson in 2001, in a new limited series on HBO Max.

The 60-year-old British actor is best known for The King’s Speech, which earned him an Oscar, but he’s beloved also for embodying the broody, swoon-worthy Mr. Darcy in the 1990s TV version of Pride and Prejudice. And don’t forget his awkwardly endearing ABBA dancing shenanigans in the Mamma Mia! franchise.  

While Firth may not look anything like the 77-year-old Peterson, he feels better suited for the role than Harrison Ford, who was rumored to be in talks for the part last year. 

It’s unclear if the project will be sympathetic to Peterson, who has maintained his innocence for two decades. Peterson was released from prison in 2017 after making an Alford plea, which allowed him to plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter while maintaining his innocence in exchange for a sentence of time served.

The case was featured in the 2018 Netflix documentary series The Staircase, which helped popularize a theory that Kathleen Peterson wasn’t murdered but was attacked by an owl that caused her to fall down the stairs. 

Peterson’s former 9,400-square-foot Cedar Street mansion in Durham, where the alleged murder took place, sold last summer for $1.6 million. 

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