What with season two of the Netflix thriller Dirty John, the new Madeleine McCann docuseries, and the fifth instalment of cop drama, Line of Duty, all coming to our screens soon, it’s safe to say 2019 is spoiling us with true-crime drama.
Get ready for your next TV obsession though, because Hulu is preparing to release a brand new series, The Act, based on the real-life story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, who made headlines in 2015 when her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard, was found stabbed to death at their home in Springfield, Missouri.
The murder trial gripped America as it emerged that Gypsy’s mother had convinced her daughter that she was terminally ill. For years, Gypsy has been treated for problems related to muscular dystrophy, undergone invasive surgeries linked to leukemia, asthma, and brain damage, and fed through a tube – even though she was completely healthy.
It’s believed that Dee Dee had Munchausen by proxy, a syndrome in which someone fabricates an illness for someone else to receive sympathy and attention. The web of lies worked: Dee Dee received substantial donations from Ronald McDonald House, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Habit for Humanity, who built Gypsy a pink, wheelchair-accessible home.
After suffering years of abuse, Dee Dee was murdered by Gypsy’s boyfriend Nick Godejohn, whom she had met online. 24 hours after Dee Dee’s body was discovered, Gypsy and Nick were arrested on suspicion of murder in Wisconsin, and later charged for Dee Dee’s death. Godejohn received a life sentence, while Gypsy was sentenced to ten years in prison for second degree murder at the Chillicothe Correctional Center in Missouri.
In Hulu’s new trailer, based on Michelle Dean’s 2016 in-depth reported story for BuzzFeed, “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered,” we meet Gypsy (played by Joey King) and Dee Dee (played by Patricia Arquette) who convinces her daughter that she suffers from a range of serious ailments.
In an interview with Teen Vogue, King said that she wanted to draw out Gypsy’s humanity in the new adaptation.
“I just want to make sure that if [Gypsy] ever sees the show one day, I want her to know that we wanted to do right by her,” she said. “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.”
The Act premieres on Hulu on March 20.