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Renee Zellweger To Star In New NBC True Crime Series 'The Thing About Pam,' Based On Twisted Pamela Hupp Case
The story of Pamela Hupp became the subject of a hugely successful "Dateline" report and podcast, and now the real-life drama is coming to the screen.
Oscar winner Renee Zellweger will make her broadcast television debut in a new true crime limited series retracing the shocking twists and turns in the case of Pamela Hupp.
Hupp is currently serving a life sentence for the carefully orchestrated killing of Louis Gumpenberger, a man with mental disabilities, in 2016, allegedly to misdirect authorities in another murder case, that of her close friend Betsy Faria years earlier.
Faria was fatally stabbed in 2011 and suspicion quickly fell on her husband Russell Faria. He was convicted in 2013, but that judgment was overturned two years later, ultimately exposing a “diabolical scheme” involving Hupp, who Zellweger will portray in the six-episode series “The Thing About Pam,” according to a statement from NBC.
The project is a collaboration between NBC News Studios, Blumhouse Television and Zellweger’s Big Picture Co. and will bring to the screen a dramatized version of this true that was not only featured by “Dateline,” but was also the subject of the popular “Dateline” podcast, “The Thing About Pam,” hosted by Keith Morrison.
The complex case was also featured in an Oxygen episode of “Snapped.”
The project is the first major scripted project under Susan Rovner, Chairman of Entertainment Content for NBCUniversal’s Television and Streaming division.
“When you think about what qualifies something as a ‘must watch,’ I’m not sure you could do any better than the undeniable trifecta of Renee Zellweger, Blumhouse and ‘Dateline,'” Rovner said in the statement. “The twists and turns of this saga are truly stranger than fiction, and in the hands of this incredibly talented artistic team, this series will bring a completely new perspective to a story that has already captivated millions.”
Jessika Borsiczky, whose past credits include “House of Lies” and “UnREAL,” will write the series and serve as showrunner.
“As someone who hasn’t missed an episode of ‘Dateline’ in 10 years, what immediately stood out to me about Pam from other true crime stories is that while on its surface it has all the twists and turns of a thrilling whodunit murder mystery, it’s really a character story at its heart that reflects in a profound way the American landscape back to us,” Borsiczky said.
“The Thing About Pam,” will also mark Blumhouse’s first return back to broadcast television since the 2012 ABC drama “The River,” Deadline reports.
“Similar to our acclaimed and award-winning crime series such as ‘The Jinx’ and ‘Sharp Objects,’ we see this opportunity to fuel viewers’ appetites for strong and compelling stories,” said Jason Blum, CEO and founder of Blumhouse. “This opportunity to build a powerful, scripted franchise and work with the incomparable Renee Zellweger in her first starring role on broadcast TV, with a writer as gifted as Jessika Borsiczky and adapting material from the treasure troves of ‘Dateline’ in partnership with our friends at NBC, is unparalleled.”
Faria was found dead in her home with 55 stab wounds on Dec. 27, 2011. Suspicion quickly turned to her husband Russell, who was convicted in 2013 for the brutal slaying, in part, thanks to Hupp’s testimony against him.
But the conviction would later be overturned after Russell’s defense team successfully argued that Hupp—who had stood to benefit from Betsy’s $150,00 life insurance policy—had been overlooked as a possible suspect in the case.
The story took an even stranger turn in 2016, when Hupp was accused of luring 33-year-old Louis Gumpenberger into her vehicle by pretending to be a producer for “Dateline” and convincing him she was looking for actors for a 911 re-enactment for the show, according to “Dateline.”
Prosecutors said she then shot the 33-year-old while on the phone with 911 dispatchers, falsely claiming that he was an intruder breaking into her home.
Authorities believe the killing was an attempt to draw suspicion away from herself in Betsy Faria’s murder and once again point suspicion to Russell Faria. After killing Gumpenberger, authorities said she planted a fake kidnapping note that tried to implicate Russell as having hired Gumpenberger to kill her.
She later agreed to an Alford plea—which did not require her to admit guilt but acknowledged that prosecutors had enough evidence to convict her—in Gumpenberger’s death in 2019. She was sentenced to life behind bars.
“It’s been a long time coming and she is going to spend the rest of her life where she deserves to spend it,” St. Charles County’s prosecuting attorney Tim Lohmar told Oxygen.com at the time. “I’m really happy that we’ve been able to bring some closure to the family.”
No new charges were ever filed in Betsy Faria’s murder, however, the Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office announced in 2019 that it planned to reopen the case.