Joey King on Telling the True Story of 'The Act,' Stepping Into the Mind of Gypsy Blanchard
"Doing the story justice, making sure if you are not a sympathizer with Gypsy that by the time you finish the show, you feel how much of a victim she actually was," King told The Hollywood Reporter In Studio.
Joey King's role in Hulu's The Act, detailing the true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and the murder of her mother, Dee Dee, is unlike any the actress has starred in before.
King sat down with The Hollywood Reporter In Studio to discuss telling the story of Gypsy and Dee Dee for the series, which is based on Michelle Dean's BuzzFeed story "Dee Dee Wanted Her Daughter to Be Sick, Gypsy Wanted Her Mom to Be Murdered" and turned into a HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest.
"I got the audition and I did a lot of research online, and I read up about it quite a bit, and I was like, 'Holy mother of geez. This is disturbing and crazy,'" King said. "Of course, then I watched the documentary and then I realized that's the story we're telling, and I was like, 'I really want to be a part of this project so badly.'"
To get into the mind of Gypsy, King went down an intense "rabbit hole of research" for the role, watching "any videos that I could really get my hands on."
"We had Michelle Dean, who wrote the famous article for BuzzFeed. She was one of our producers on the show who had an intimate relationship with Gypsy and her family," the actress said. "She'd spoken to her many times, so whenever I had a question or needed more answers from her, I would able to go to her, which was great."
King continued: "But I think what was super important to me, not just researching the story, was getting Gypsy's voice correct and her movements correct: so when she would just look around or talk to her mom, anything I could do to make it as authentic as possible. I just watched all these videos that I could find and just how childlike her movements were and how they changed as she got older."
While King didn't get the chance to speak to Gypsy prior to production — she's currently serving a prison sentence for the second-degree murder of her mother — the actress explained the pressures of portraying a real person in this "complex" story.
"Just knowing that someone's real and is out there — I mean, she's in prison as we sit here and speak right now. It's really a crazy feeling," she said. "This story is so complex. There's times when you'll be watching it where you'll hate Dee Dee and you'll feel sympathy for Gypsy, and there will be times where you'll feel sorry for Dee Dee even, and then you'll be thinking that Gypsy's a little bit villainous, so just getting it right was really important to me."
She added: "Doing the story justice, making sure if you are not a sympathizer with Gypsy that by the time you finish the show, you feel how much of a victim she actually was."
Watch the video above to hear King talk about bonding with co-star Patricia Arquette, what's to come for The Kissing Booth 2 and more.