‘By Proxy’ will differ significantly from Hulu’s ’The Act’ and be more 'fact-centered' around Gypsy and Dee Dee Blanchard’s lives
When Hulu's limited series 'The Act' released, the interest in the lives of Gypsy Blanchard and her late mother Dee Dee Blanchard increased. The show's portrayal of the events running up to the murder of Gypsy had many viewers sympathizing with Gypsy for the life she lived with her mother. However, reports arose that Hulu, the makers of 'The Act,' never got in touch with Gypsy or her family regarding permission to dramatize the events that occurred in their lives.
That's when Fancy Macelli, who acquired the rights to adapt Gypsy's story and televise it, announced a new series called 'By Proxy'. This show will be co-created by Tori Johnson and Aria Macelli and be written by MJ Pack.
While 'The Act' was being aired, there were many reports of how the show had dramatized events or added incidents that never occurred in real life. An example of this would be the scene with Gypsy and Lacey, a character based on Aleah Woodmansee, Gypsy's friend, where Lacey is seen handing over a joint to Gypsy.
After the debunking of many such scenes, how will this show be any different? What lengths would they go to, to dramatize the shocking events that occurred in Gypsy's life? In an exclusive interview with MEA WorldWide (MEAWW), creators Johnson and Macelli explained how their show will be different from 'The Act'.
"We're not just concentrating on a certain part of Gypsy's life. We are starting back at the beginning of Dee Dee's life. Dee Dee is Gypsy's mom and her own mother, we believe had Munchausen by Proxy and so we're going back [and] showing what it was like for Dee Dee growing up and kind of showing how she became who she was in the way she was. Then moving forward from there to Dee Dee as a mom and Gypsy's life, continuing all the way through Gypsy's life and showing everything that she went through all the way through Dee Dee's murder and the trial," explained Johnson.
Macelli, who did the research and reached out to people for the story, said: "I went down to Louisiana, I met with Gypsy's parents Rod and her stepmother Kristy. I actually sat down with Dee Dee's family - four of her siblings, Gypsy's cousin Bobby, and her stepmother who has since passed away and her father. We have also talked with lifetime friends of hers, other acquaintances that have known her, people that she stayed with and so we have a lot of different points of view about Dee Dee."
Johnson also pointed out that the way Dee Dee was treated by her mother was so different from the way she treated her siblings and that Dee Dee was specifically singled out by her mother. Speaking of the casting of their show, Johnson said: "Every actor has a different set of capabilities and that is what we are casting on. We are not casting on who has the same color hair as Gypsy, so it's not necessarily in comparison to Joey King."
Macelli and Johnson were both impressed with the role of Gypsy in 'The Act', and Macelli explained that they had in fact thought of King for their show before she was attached to 'The Act'. Speaking about how much of their show will be dramatized, Johnson explained their limited series will be a true crime dramatization, but the word dramatization here should be used loosely as she feels that there is only so much you can portray even with the amount of research that they have done.
What they are trying to do with 'By Proxy' is put out "the truth as true [as it] can be told based on the stories from everybody involved," unlike 'The Act'. In an interview with MEAWW, co-creator of 'The Act', Nick Antosca, confirmed they only used the research that Buzzfeed writer Michelle Dean had done and that she was their point of reference for the show.
Johnson and Macelli explained that their show will be more truth and fact-centered. The co-creators of the show also pointed out that they were looking to "dramatize the show and not fictionalize it. I think that's the big difference (between 'By Proxy' and 'The Act')."
The show is expected to have 12 to 13 episodes with more in-depth after-episode coverage which will feature behind-the-scenes footage and also analysis by experts on various subjects. The show is yet to be picked by a network.
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