Even in the vast arena of true-crime documentaries and dramatic based-on-a-true-story offerings, Hulu’s latest series, The Act, stands out as one of the most chilling, bizarre stories in recent memory. The eight-episode series reenacts the headline-making news story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King) and Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette), a mother-daughter duo whose heartwarming relationship took a turn for the grotesque when it was revealed, after Dee Dee’s 2015 murder, to be nothing more than an elaborate fraud. The talented cast of Hulu's The Act brings this unconscionable story to life.
Gypsy, who is currently serving 10 years in federal prison, was raised to believe that she was perpetually sick, suffering a whole litany of ailments and conditions that included, among other things, paraplegia, epilepsy, heart murmurs, and a sugar allergy. As it turned out, Dee Dee had been duping both her daughter and her friends and neighbors for years, reaping the rewards of a sympathetic public: free flights, celebrity donations, trips to Disney World, and even a house from Habitat for Humanity.
Meanwhile, Gypsy was being subjected to verbal, physical, and psychological abuse meant to keep her dependent upon her mother: she was restrained to her bed for weeks at a time, starved, and constantly demeaned by Dee Dee, who tried to cut off her communication with the outside world. At one point, she smashed Gypsy’s computer with a hammer, and threatened to do the same to her fingers.
As Gypsy grew up and started to realize her mother’s fraudulent behavior, she began to plot her escape. What happened in the last few months of Dee Dee’s life are almost too outrageous to be real, but as we all know, sometimes real life can be stranger than fiction.
Here, we take a look at the main players in the saga, and the actors who are bold enough to play them. The Act is on Hulu now.