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In a conversation with “Dateline” host Keith Morrison, actor Renée Zellweger explained what drew her to want to play the notorious Pamela “Pam” Hupp in an upcoming NBC television series.
The interview aired at the beginning of the second annual BlumFest Friday. Zellweger is starring as Hupp in an upcoming limited series, a project that is a collaboration between NBC News Studios, Blumhouse Television and Zellweger’s Big Picture Co. The show is still in development, Town & Country reported in September.
Hupp, 62, is currently awaiting trial for the 2011 murder of her former best friend Elizabeth “Betsy” Faria. The slain woman was stabbed in her Missouri home at least 55 times. Her husband Russell Faria found her body; he was then wrongfully convicted of her murder in 2013. His conviction was overturned in 2015 and he reached a $2 million settlement with a sheriff’s department office for wrongful conviction last year.
Hupp was charged with first-degree murder for Betsy’s death in July, which she has pleaded not guilty to; prosecutors allege she stabbed Betsy to death before staging the scene to frame Russell. Betsy was killed just four days after Hupp persuaded her to switch a $150,000 life insurance policy to make her the benefactor.
Hupp is currently behind bars for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger, a man with mental disabilities from a prior accident, who prosecutors say she fatally shot in an attempt to frame him as a hitman to allegedly cover up Betsy's murder. She entered an Alford Plea in the case in 2019, still maintaining her innocence but acknowledging there was enough evidence to convict her at trial and was sentenced to life in prison without parole for that slaying.
Zellweger told Morrison that her interest in playing Hupp “goes beyond the audacity of the behavior of everyone involved.”
She said she likes how the case is a “glaring illustration of several currently topical social issues.”
One such social issue, she said, is “white lady privilege in America.”
She said it’s also “an interesting look at the sad invisibility of middle-aged women in America and how in the most bizarre circumstances it can kind of work to someone’s advantage as is probably the case in the Pam Hupp's story.”
Morrison had covered the case for multiple “Dateline” episodes. He noted on Friday that it became the show’s “most popular story” ever. He also hosted a “Dateline” podcast entitled “The Thing About Pam,” which launched in 2019.
The case was also featured in an Oxygen episode of “Snapped.”
A release date for the limited series hasn't been set yet. Joining Zellweger in the cast are Josh Duhamel, Judy Greer and Katy Mixon.
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