The story of the Blanchards is almost too strange to be real. What begins as the tale of an eccentric woman and her sickly young daughter spirals into something far more complex, sinister, and, ultimately, deadly. After the BuzzFeed article went big, HBO turned the story into a documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest. Now, Hulu is adapting Michelle Dean’s piece into the first season of their new true crime anthology series, The Act. The first trailer is here to promise that they aren’t holding back on the major twists and turns from the real-life crime.
Patricia Arquette, fresh off her award-winning turn in Escape at Dannemora, is playing the role of Dee Dee Blanchard, a “model parent” to sickly daughter Gypsy Rose, played in The Act by Joey King. Except she isn’t all that model at all. As the trailer shows, Dee Dee suffers from Factitious disorder imposed on another, otherwise commonly known as Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a disorder wherein a parent typically inflicts harm on their child to present the guise that the child is ill. (The disorder has been showcased in pop culture a number of times, notably in last year’s HBO series Sharp Objects.)
The psychological disorder is, in itself, a fascinating subject worth exploring, but the Blanchards’ story doesn’t begin and end with Gypsy Rose’s abuse. As you can see, things quickly spiral out of control, leading to confrontation, murder, and a perplexing court case that is truly stranger than fiction.
Michelle Dean, author of the BuzzFeed story, is serving as co-showrunner for The Act alongside Nick Antosca, creator of the cult anthology series Channel Zero. Chloë Sevigny, AnnaSophia Robb, and Calum Worthy costar.
The Act arrives on Hulu on March 20.