Gypsy Rose Blanchard spent her childhood believing she was sick.
In the years after she learned the horrifying truth — that her mother subjected her to decades of unnecessary medical treatments, including surgeries and frequent emergency room visits — Gypsy planned her mother’s murder.
The twisted, sordid tale is the subject of Hulu’s “The Act,” starring Joey King as Gypsy and Patricia Arquette as her mom, Claudine (Dee Dee) Blanchard.
The eight-episode series, which debuts March 20, focuses on the once inseparable mother-daughter duo, the events that led to Dee Dee’s 2015 killing, and the psychology at the root of it all.
“I think they did such a good job really bringing these characters to life but then also showing them in a humane way where it’s not gratuitous,” said AnnaSophia Robb, who plays Gypsy’s neighbor and only friend, Lacey.
“It’s showing sort of the real psychological disturbances and real emotions behind why they choose what they choose,” Robb, 25, said.
Dee Dee Blanchard’s choices – likely fueled by Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy – forced her daughter to spend her first 20 years in a wheelchair.
Blanchard, 48, told anyone who would listen that her daughter was riddled with health problems, ranging from epilepsy and muscular dystrophy to a childhood bout with leukemia. Gypsy was subjected to never-ending doctor visits and medicinal cocktails.
But when her mother went to bed, Gypsy woke up, downing sugary treats, cruising the internet and eventually meeting a man on a Christian dating site.
Three months after Gypsy met Nicholas Godejohn in March 2015, he traveled from his Wisconsin home to Springfield, Mo., where he stabbed Dee Dee Blanchard to death.
Godejohn, 29, was sentenced in February to life in prison for the slaying. Gypsy, 27, pleaded guilty to murder charges in 2016 and is serving 10 years behind bars.
While “The Act” focuses on events surrounding and leading up to Dee Dee’s murder, it’s about so much more, according to Oscar nominee Chloë Sevigny, who plays Lacey’s mother Mel.
The show explores “the power of sexuality and youth… like a girl discovering her body and wanting different forms of love and affection, and … coming of age,” said Sevigny, 44.
Unlike the HBO documentary about the case, “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” and other specials, “The Act” is not a police procedural, Robb noted.
It’s less a true crime story and more focused on “betrayal, and the unveiling of what the truth is through really personal relationships,” Robb explained.
In this case, the bond between mother and child morphed into a perverse codependence that ended in bloodshed.
But are the Blanchards alone to blame for what happened to them?
“How can we as a society [have] failed someone like Gypsy?” Sevigny asks. “How can she [keep] slipping through the cracks over and over again?”
“The Act” will be available for streaming on Hulu on March 20.