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Gypsy Rose Blanchard’s Crime Was ‘An Act Of Mercy,' Says Executive Producer Of 'The Act’

The executive producer of Hulu's "The Act" talks about the real-life saga of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, her "act of mercy" in killing her mother Dee Dee, and casting the new series.

By John Thrasher
What Is Munchausen Syndrome By Proxy?

Nick Antosca, executive producer of Hulu’s “The Act,” believes the murder of Clauddine “Dee Dee” Blanchard by her daughter Gypsy Rose Blanchard and Gypsy's boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn was “an act of mercy.”

“Yes it’s an act of self-defense. For sure,” said Antosca to Oxygen’s true crime podcast “Martinis & Murder.”“But also in a very strange way, it’s an act of mercy. Because, my take on it, our take on it in the writers' room, is that she still loved her mother when she killed her.”

“The Act,” on Hulu, is a scripted series focusing on the real-life events of teenager Gypsy Rose Blanchard and the murder of her mother Dee Dee Blanchard in 2015. Gypsy had been conviced by Dee Dee that she was seriously ill with multiple conditions, including leukemia and muscular dystrophy. Despite being healthy, Dee Dee had her use a feeding tube and a wheelchair, and kept her in and out of hospitals.

The case has sparked a conversation about Munchausen by Proxy, a disorder in which a caretaker pretends that someone under their care is sick or injured.

The remarkable story was first detailed by Michelle Deanon Buzzfeed News in 2015, where it gained national attention. Dean’s article was also the basis for an HBO documentary titled “Mommy Dead and Dearest” in 2017. Now, Hulu’s “The Act” takes the scripted approach, casting Joey King as Gypsy and Oscar-winner Patricia Arquette as Gypsy’s mother Dee Dee.

Hosts John Thrasher and Daryn Carp asked Antosca about casting Arquette and King in their respective roles. “We wanted Arquette from the beginning,” said Antosca, explaining that he and director Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre agreed that Arquette would be the dream choice for the role. 

This is not Arquette’s first time acting in the true crime genre. In 2018, she won an Emmy for her portrayal of Tilly Mitchell in “Escape at Dannemora,” a scripted series on Showtime based on two prison escapees and the most expensive manhunt in New York state history.

“We didn’t want Dee Dee to be a cartoon,” said Antosca. “She does such monstrous things, we didn’t want her to be a monster. And the real Dee Dee was a very kind of colorful character. So we wanted somebody who was profoundly grounded and also not afraid to, like, go there. It’s a fine line to walk.”


Antosca said that Joey King, who grew to prominence after starring in “Ramona and Beezus,” had a lot of the things he was looking for in casting the character of Gypsy. “In addition to kind of looking like Gypsy, she just had the vibe and seemed so like that,” Antosca explained.

“The first time seeing her in character as Gypsy with her head shaved and the teeth, her glasses, and the voice. Woah. It was freaky,” said Antosca.

Gypsy Rose Blanchard is currently serving a ten-year prison sentence for second-degree murder, according to The New York Daily News. Gypsy’s then-boyfriend Nicholas Godejohn was found guilty of first-degree murder and armed criminal action, and is serving a life sentence in prison, according to the Springfield News-Leader.

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