How Much Of Gypsy Rose's Life Does The Act Cover?

Photo: Courtesy of Brownie Harris/Netflix.
Since debuting on March 20 with two episodes, Hulu’s The Act has viewers and critics completely shook. The twisty real-life story of Gypsy Rose and Dee Dee Blanchard has fascinated the masses since Blanchard’s 2015 murder. The story has been retold a few times, most famously in HBO’s 2017 documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest and Michelle Dean’s viral BuzzFeed article “Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom Murdered.” But this new series, starring Joey King and Patricia Arquette, recounts the horror of the events in a way audiences have yet to see, which may have people wondering: How much of Gypsy Rose’s life will The Act show and how exactly will Hulu execute the story?

How Many Episodes & How Much Of Gypsy's Life Will We See?

According to IMDb, the Hulu's Gypsy Rose story on The Act will have eight episodes. The series bounces in time from the discovery of Blanchard’s murder in her home (which her daughter Gypsy and Gypsy's boyfriend orchestrated) back to several years prior when the mother and daughter first arrived at their house. Trailers preview some of Rose’s trial, as she currently serves a 10-year prison sentence for a second-degree murder charge.

How Accurate Is The Act?

The story deals with severe physical and emotional abuse Gypsy endured from her mother, who likely suffered from Munchausen by Proxy. Co-creator Michelle Dean, who reported on the BuzzFeed story for a year before it was published, has spoken about the balance between recounting facts and imagining aspects for storytelling. “We were committed to telling the story in a way that tried to deepen what people already thought they knew about it, emotionally and thematically,” she told Elle. “The show's not a work of journalism and you don't need to pick up any information from it, but we thought the entire show should be grounded in the emotional journeys of the characters.” In an interview with Decider, Dean emphasized that The Act is an “inspired by” story, even though she spoke with Gypsy before while reporting on her BuzzFeed piece.
While Dean confirmed that Rose and her family were not part of making the show, prior conversations with Rose stuck and could have inspired a lot of elements coming to life on screen. “She was in my head every day,” Dean told Elle. “Every once in a while, I’d get Gypsy explaining some element of her abuse in such detail that something in me would break.” King even told Refinery29 about fighting for a more truthful, realistic scene when Gypsy loses her virginity because of how important it was to her.

So Which Parts Are Not-So-Real?

However, viewers should take specifics they see with a grain of salt. For example, Dean explained that Arquette was enthralled by Blanchard’s behavior like making “medication cocktails” for Rose, while Dean and the crew don’t actually know what Blanchard was giving her daughter in real life. When it came to portraying Blanchard, Dean was transparent to Vanity Fair that they had to “guess pretty much everything” since she died and never really spoke about the situation. Further, Dean’s co-creator Nick Antosca told The Huffington Post that characters like neighbors and doctors are fictionalized and meant to “represent people with different qualities of life.”
Dean’s made clear, though, the show isn’t going for shock value, telling Hollywood Life, “We’ll definitely get an accurate vision of what it was like to be Gypsy.” While viewers may not see Rose’s early life, like birth, or her time in prison, they will get to be inside her head through some of her most traumatic years. Dean promises she's had her in mind every step of the way.

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