The truth is stranger than fiction…
From television dramas like The Assassination of Gianni Versace to Netflix documentaries Making a Murderer and The Ted Bundy Tapes and the ongoing popularity of the podcast Serial, true crime storytelling is experiencing a resurgence.
And soon there’ll be a new true crime tale capturing our attentions.
The Act, due to begin next month, tells the story of Gypsy Blanchard, who is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after being convicted of second-degree murder of her mother, Dee Dee.
The story of a matricide is a fascinating one on its own, but it’s the revelations that came out after Dee Dee’s death that make this tale even more compelling.
Gypsy used a wheelchair for much of her life, and apparently had leukaemia, asthma, vision and hearing impairments, muscular dystrophy and seizures. She and her mother lived in a home built by Habitat for Humanity, and were the recipients of gifts from charities including the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Those who knew the pair thought that Gypsy was a teenager.
But after Dee Dee’s death it was revealed that Gypsy was a perfectly healthy 24-year-old, and had never suffered from any of the medical problems her mother had spoken about. It is thought that Dee Dee had Munchausen by proxy, a rare syndrome in which a person, usually a primary caretaker, fakes or induces physical and psychological symptoms in another person.
In an interview with ABC after her conviction, Gypsy said she felt “freer in prison than living with my mum because now I’m allowed to just live like a normal woman”.
The first trailer for The Act, which stars Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee and Joey King as Gypsy, hints heavily at the complicated relationship between the mother and daughter.
It begins with loving scenes between the two, but gradually becomes more sinister before showing a scene where Dee Dee ties Gypsy to her bed. It ends with Gypsy in an orange jumpsuit, with a voice offscreen asking if she murdered her mother.
The series follows a 2017 documentary, Mommy Dead and Dearest, about the case, which can currently be seen on Amazon Prime in the UK.
The Act begins on Hulu in the US on March 20, and we’re hoping it will hit screens here soon.