The Act is a twisted, dark, and mysterious thriller about the true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and the murder of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard in 2015. The Hulu series follows Dee Dee (Patricia Arquette), who suffers from Munchausen syndrome by proxy and uses the disease against her daughter, Gypsy (Joey King). Gypsy’s medical conditions, that included leukemia, an allergy to sugar, muscular dystrophy, and the use of a feeding tube, have been fabricated.
Gypsy felt trapped, and with the guidance of her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, they concocted a plan to kill her mother. After Godejohn had stabbed Dee Dee, he was sentenced for life on the basis of first-degree murder. Gypsy was given 10 years for second-degree murder.
Joey King is no stranger to intense roles, but this one was different. She wants the viewers to remember that this is a true story of a girl who was deeply affected by her upbringing.
“It’s hard to say because I don’t really think there’s a message to take away, but I hope people who are really not sympathetic towards Gypsy will see her story in a different light,” said King. “She was a prisoner with Dee Dee and now she’s a real, government prisoner but she feels more free than she did her whole life. That really says something about her childhood. And I hope people open their eyes and start to see, OK murder is not the answer but this girl went through it; she was dragged through hell.”
In preparation for her role as Dee Dee, Patricia Arquette used her own motherhood as an inspiration, but with a twist.
“Dee Dee is an intense case because she goes against everything that nature builds in,” said Arquette. “Your parent is supposed to defend you and protect you from danger and all these things, but these parents are actually putting their children in danger. My daughter went away to school when I started this so I thought that kind of phobic attachment, that fear of your child leaving you, being out of your sight, being away from you, the fear of not being able to handle missing them, all of that stuff … I was feeling some of those feelings with my daughter breaking away in a natural way, so I decided to distort that because I don’t think Dee Dee could handle that.”
The Act premieres on March 20 on Hulu.