The very popular HBO documentary Mommy Dead & Dearest told the story of mother/daughter pair Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard’s complicated relationship. Now, their story will unfold in a new seasonal anthology series. Hulu’s The Act teaser brings Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee’s true crime story to life. The show’s first season premieres on March 20 and the first trailer just came out. According to Hulu, the show is about “a girl trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her overprotective mother,” but that’s not even the half of it. There is so much more to this true story.
The real Gypsy Rose was convicted of murdering her mother Dee Dee in 2015, but she defended herself by claiming that her mom made her a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy. With Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a caregiver makes up a sickness or induces illness for the person they are supposedly taking care of, according to Vulture. Typically, this is to get sympathy from people and even financial donations. Gypsy claimed that her mother held her captive and forced her to go through medical procedures and take medications to keep up with the facade that she was sick.
Among other medical issues, Meaaw reported that Dee Dee claimed that her daughter had leukemia, muscular dystrophy, sleep apnea, asthma, epilepsy, hearing loss, and chromosomal defects. The report also claimed that Gypsy was forced to use a wheelchair even though she was fully capable of walking. Dee Dee even had doctors put a feeding tube in her daughter, which was both uncomfortable and unnecessary for her to have. She also claimed that her daughter had the mental capacity of a seven-year-old child. And Dee Dee actually shaved her daughter’s head so she could look the part of a sick child.
To describe their mother/daughter dynamic as “complicated” doesn’t even do it justice. There is just so much to unpack. And, though their relationship has already been the subject of a much-talked-about documentary, a movie or special just doesn’t have enough time to tell such a layered story, hence, the new Hulu series.
In The Act, Patricia Arquette plays the role of Dee Dee while Joey King takes on Gypsy. And, if the trailer is any indication, things are going to get intense pretty quickly.
In an October 2018 Instagram post, King shared a video of her getting her head shaved to play Gypsy. The actor told her followers:
“My name for the next 4 months, is Gypsy Rose Blanchard. This story is very disturbing and I am honored to be able to portray it. What a wild ride this will be on ‘The Act’ @hulu Link in my bio for the exclusive interview I gave with @allure talking about the decision to shave my head for a 3rd time for a project I’m so ready to take on.”
In a Feb. 7 interview with Teen Vogue, King discussed her desire to tell Gypsy’s story without sensationalizing it. She told the magazine,
“The story is so messed up and there are so many layers, and it’s so, so heavy. I never want it to feel like we’re making fun of the story or we’re doing anything to romanticize it. It’s nitty-gritty; it’s really disturbing.”
TheWrap reports that the Hulu series debuts on Wednesday March 20 with two new episodes. After that, there will be new episodes every Wednesday telling this extremely complicated story. It’s going to be a very intense, scary, and disturbing ride.