It's a rare person who hasn't had a period where they don't get along with their parents. Even the most emotionally healthy grownups most likely had a point where they disagreed with their parents or felt like they'd been betrayed one way or another. Then there are the kids of parents who are disturbed, the children of narcissists, or worse. Some of them turn out heroically well-adjusted after therapy. Then there are those like the Blanchardes. Hulu's newest series tell their story in The Act trailer.
For those who are obsessed with stories of true crime, the name Blancharde should be a recognizable one. Michelle Dean chronicled the family's drama in Buzzfeed News a couple of years back after mother Dee Dee was found murdered in their home back in June 2015. During an investigation and trial in 2018, daughter Gypsy Rose testified in court that she had planned the murder along with her boyfriend at the time, Nicholas Godejohn. Gypsy is currently serving a 10-year sentence after accepting a plea deal of second-degree murder in July 2015. Godejohn was found guilty in November 2018 of first-degree murder and will be sentenced this month.
However, the story isn't just a daughter turning on her mother. Experts familiar with the case believe Dee Dee had Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, leading Gypsy to believe herself to be mentally and physically disabled in all sorts of ways. When her daughter realized the truth, the house of cards came tumbling down.
Check out the trailer.
Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy, also known as Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (FDIA) is defined as "a mental illness in which a person acts as if an individual he or she is caring for has a physical or mental illness when the person is not really sick." When Gypsy Rose discovered her mother lied to her whole life, her response was extreme.
If the actor playing Gypsy Rose seems familiar, she should. That's Joey King, star of Netflix's ultra-popular teen rom-com The Kissing Booth. King's look in the film is a full 180 from how fans usually see her, a sort of teen version of the kind of biopic "disappearing into a character" that has won many an A-list actress an Oscar. The actor playing Dee Dee also is a surprise, played by Patricia Arquette, who is equally unrecognizable under prosthetics and makeup.
Here's the synopsis, according to Hulu's website:
The Act is a seasonal anthology series that tells startling, stranger-than-fiction true crime stories. The first season follows Gypsy Blanchard, a girl trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her overprotective mother. Her quest for independence opens a Pandora’s box of secrets, one that ultimately leads to murder.
King recently appeared at the Television Critics Association Press Tour to talk about the new series. According to Deadline, she spoke about the research she did to try to prepare for such a complex emotional role, but:
When you step on set with a shaved head and fake teeth, and being in the wheelchair and in Gypsy’s clothing, it fell into place.
Like The Handmaid's Tale, The Act will premiere with multiple installments before settling into a one-episode-a-week release schedule over the next six weeks. The first two episodes of The Act will arrive on Hulu on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.
If you or someone you know is seeking help for mental health concerns, visit the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) website, or call 1-800-950-NAMI(6264). For confidential treatment referrals, visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website, or call the National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP(4357). In an emergency, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK(8255) or call 911.