“The Thing About Pam” actors and their real-life counterparts talk about the show.
In the Pam Hupp case, some of the performers got to know their characters better than others.
The actors have been cast and the sequences have been shot in St. Louis. The red carpet had been laid out for the occasion.
The miniseries based on the Dateline specials on the Pam Hupp case will broadcast on NBC on Tuesday night.
This film’s name is “The Thing About Pam.”
In 2011, the murder of Betsy Faria in Lincoln County, Kentucky, marked the beginning of the true narrative.
So, how does the miniseries’ portrayal of the real-life victims, who have lived the tale for the past decade, feel? Who is playing them, and how well did they get to know each other?
Depending on who you ask, this may or may not be the case.
To begin, let’s go over some of the case’s essential elements once more.
‘The Thing About Pam’: The Real Story
On December 27, 2011, someone shot and killed Betsy Faria in her Lincoln County, Georgia, home. She had been diagnosed with terminal cancer and had been told she had just months to live.
As a former Lincoln County prosecutor, Leah Askey, now referred to as Leah Chaney, charged Faria’s husband Russ with her murder because he reported her death to 911 dispatchers as a suicide even though she had been stabbed 55 times and a knife protruding from her neck when he discovered her dead.
He argued that Betsy Faria’s friend Pam Hupp was the most likely suspect since she induced Betsy Faria to sign over a $150,000 life insurance policy to her just four days before her murder, according to Joel Schwartz, his attorney.
After serving three years in prison, his conviction was overturned in a second trial and he was released.
A catastrophic brain injury had left Louis Gumpenberger with developmental disabilities. In 2016, Hupp was accused of killing him. He was kidnapped by Russ Faria, prosecutors claim, and she tried to claim self-defense. An Alford plea was made by Hupp in the case. A life sentence without the option of early release was imposed on her, and she is currently serving it.
Currently serving Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood filed homicide charges against Hupp in 2021 for the death of Betsy Faria. The murder investigation is ongoing.
By offering to revive the Faria case and examine any misconduct by Chaney and the police, Wood had defeated Chaney in the previous election.
Missouri Attorney General’s Office and the Major Case Squad were all involved in the investigation into Hupp’s death, Chaney told 5 On Your Side in an exclusive interview. No one felt Hupp was physically capable of the murder, she added.
Renee Zellweger portrays Pam Hupp in the movie.
Renee Zellweger, the Academy Award-winning actress who plays Hupp in the miniseries, was unable to meet or speak with the character. Hupp is presently serving a sentence in a federal prison.
At a recent red carpet interview, Zellweger revealed her research into human psychology in order to prepare for the part.
Her interviews, her testimony, and all of those things were used to fill in the gaps and complete the wider picture, she explained. “I tried to piece those things together with what’s accessible in public record and things she’d wanted on record herself,” she added.
Zellweger believes that portraying a real-life character has a “different obligation.”
When it comes to playing a character or developing a persona, “the guidelines were quite generous and the supplies were ample,” she explained. As a result, there are a lot of resources to draw from, and I looked at it more as a study of human behavior, and social and personal prejudice, social bias, confirmation bias.
In order to gain a better understanding of the situation, “I attempt to look at it from a larger perspective.”
“The Thing About Pam” miniseries, according to Chaney, has had no involvement from her at all.
Her portrayal in the miniseries is consistent with how she has been depicted over the last decade in podcasts, Dateline episodes, social media, and whatever else she has been a part of being portrayed. In other words, “It’s not what happened, and it’s not what I did.”
“It’s essentially wrong, 100 percent false,” she said, continuing.
As far as Chaney knows, she has just seen the show’s trailers.
“It seems to imply that I have some or had some relationship with Pam Hupp, which can’t be further from the truth,” she stated. “After the first trial, that was the first time I had contact with her.”
The address to the former courthouse was on a subpoena that Schwartz delivered to Chaney, and when Hupp arrived to her office window, she was perplexed.
They conversed in a police interrogation room because Chaney wouldn’t talk to Hupp unless the conversation was audio and video recorded.
If ever necessary, “I wanted to make sure that my conversation with her was completely transparent,” Chaney said. “I know that she had made some allegations that people had swayed her one way and another, or pressured her one way, and I wanted to make sure that my conversation with her was completely public.”
In a book on the case co-authored by Schwartz called “Bone Deep,” Chaney claims to have seen photos of that exchange.
According to her, she had a one-on-one Zoom call with the show’s creators.
As a result, Chaney was wary of agreeing to the interview unless he was certain that his words would be heard and appropriately portrayed. This is exactly what I answered them when they asked me if I knew Pam Hupp and what my connection to Pam Hupp was. Since we didn’t know each other prior to a deposition, it’s safe to say that I didn’t have a romantic relationship with her before the first trial.
Chaney broke down in tears as she described the anguish she’s had seeing her narrative be recounted without her presence.
For the past almost ten years, this has been her life. This is a very trying time for me, and I’m always worried about my loved ones. Because they know me, a lot of people have supported me for a long time. My children have to deal with this on a regular basis. Friends who know me as a person have stood by me through thick and thin.
“It’s hard for me to be constantly harassed for doing what I’m supposed to be doing.” I’m at a loss on what to do. It was the only option I could think of.
‘When you’re on the other side and you look back, you’re like ‘Wow, I wish that would have happened or we’d done this better,'” she remarked. At the time, no one was saying anything like that at all. The Major Case Squad members, the commander, and not even Joel Schwartz were aware of this. He didn’t lose until then. As a result, “it was like a scene out of a horror film.”
Judy Greer, the actress who plays Chaney in the show, has never spoken to Chaney, according to Chaney.
There is no evidence to imply Hupp was a more likely suspect, according to Chaney, who claims she would have communicated this to her if she had spoken to her.
When she spoke, she stated, “Our duty isn’t to go and investigate all of these leads or to go into other scenarios.” It’s our obligation to take what the police give us and make the best possible case to the jury.”
“And we did exactly that. As a result, I believe I would have hoped that the fact that we came to work each day to do our jobs would have struck a chord with her. The end. And that’s exactly what we did. We were able to accomplish our goal. Many people have suffered as a result of it, but this is not our fault or mine. And that’s how it’s been depicted. As a result, “that is very just heartening for me, because there was never a point in either of those cases or any other case that I would have prosecuted someone that I did not believe was guilty.”
Prior to portraying Chaney in the miniseries, Greer admitted during a red carpet interview that she had never spoken to or met the actress.
To play a real-life person, “I mean you want to get it right, but you also have your own version,” Greer explained. Actors aren’t making a documentary, they’re interpreting a factual story. It’s important that we’re granted some degree of creative license when we bring characters to life,”
For a time, Greer stated she hoped to meet her fictional twin face-to-face.
We were OK as soon as we got started. It seems like if I had met her, it would have influenced my decision,” she added. “I read so much, all the reporting from Dateline, I read transcripts, and I watched the videos.” “I believe that would have had an impact on how I performed.” Perhaps it was for the best, I’m not sure, I’ll never know.”
Greer praised the scriptwriters for their efforts.
Her reaction: “I was so thrilled with the tone we were able to retain while yet describing the tragedy and still being astounded by the way it was handled”
“The case against Pam or my character Leah Askey has not been closed,” she said (Chaney). No longer in office as district attorney, she is indeed under investigation. A sequel is a distinct possibility.
Josh Duhamel portrays Joel Schwartz.
We talked to the actors that depict us in the series,” Joel Schwartz remarked.
A total of 60 hours of contact between the authors and showrunner were devoted to making sure that the story they had was accurate, according to Schwartz.
Jeffery Schwartz has become a “close friend” to actor Josh Duhamel, who plays Schwartz in the miniserie.
“He’s a kind guy,” Duhamel stated during a red carpet interview. “He’s a lot of fun to be around.
So on the weekends, Joel’s (crap) band is wonderful and on the weekdays, he’s a lawyer in a suit and tie, protecting murderers. It’s great.” He’s a lovely guy who defends some of the worst criminals in the world. Separating work and personal life must be difficult.
The fact that he knew the guy he was defending and that he was attempting to get him out of jail certainly made him nervous. I’ve always found that fascinating.” That’s why he cared so much about this case. The point when I had the most fun with this character was when he discovered that Russ was innocent and that he was being railroaded, and then after losing the case in the perfect storm of ineptitude that was the first trial, he became determined to pursue justice for Russ.
Having met Schwartz made Duhamel feel more comfortable playing him, he added.
“I wanted to see what was going on in his mind,” he explained. In terms of legalese, this is one of the most challenging roles I’ve ever had to play.
Some of the dialogue didn’t make sense to me, and I had no idea what I was talking about.” Because of this, I had to study diligently and frequently inquired of him as to the significance of his statements and the reasoning behind his decisions. It was more about getting to the bottom of his feelings about some of this. Let me know what you went through, how you felt when you walked out of the courthouse and an innocent man was going to prison, and then how it felt when he was freed. When I learned that he had no control over what was happening, I wanted to know how frustrating it was for him.
According to Russ Faria, he had a phone conversation with actor Glenn Fleshler.
“I think they’ve done a really fantastic job of staying faithful to the story,” Faria remarked. A little weird and occasionally overwhelming, I’d say,” she says. Then then, it’s thrilling because it’s creating awareness for some really worthy causes. ”
As a follow-up, he said, “I spoke with the writers just a week ago and they were really excited and wanted to let me know and thank me for all the hard work and my time working with them. ”
Afraid of offending Faria, Fleshler approached Faria alone.
Although meeting the character of Russ would normally be exciting, Fleshler admitted that he was “scrambling to wrap my thoughts around playing Russ” due to the overwhelming nature of the endeavor.
Finally, Fleshler said he was delighted he had the opportunity to speak with Russ Faria.
As he put it, “He drew me so much further into his tale, his pain, and the humanity of it all.”
“It’s telling” how the miniseries will play out, Chaney said, given how much effort the show’s writers and actors put into their time with the defense.
It’s important to keep in mind that the miniseries was made for entertainment purposes, and that no prosecution or law enforcement sources were used in its production, she stated. “The defense and the defense attorney are responsible for all of the information.”
Gideon Adlon’s Mariah Day
Even though she had a chance to meet the actor who portrays her mother, Mariah Day said she was surprised by the show’s unique approach.
After seeing the teaser, Day was surprised by the heavy styling and vibrant colors. Day fears it will be portrayed as a dramatic comedy, which would allow viewers to make fun of her mother’s death.
Until then, Day isn’t ready for the program. The baby is due on Betsy’s birthday, and she is nine months pregnant.
Day told 5 On Your Side, “It just brings back all of those feelings and all of that trauma.”
“Pam Hupps’ name is everywhere, but I hope they illustrate that my mom was more than her dying tale,” says her daughter. “People tend to forget about the victims that were involved.”
Her “daily existence” is “still her everyday life,” said actress Gideon Adlon. Then, “She’s, she’s living there.””
Adlon says she strives to be respectful to the subject and the people involved in the filmmaking process. He described Day as “sweet and forceful” in Adlon’s words
Katy Mixon plays Betsy Faria.
‘Pam’s the Word’ is a story about Pam.
The miniseries ‘The Thing About Pam’ will premiere on NBC on March 8 at 9 p.m. CST.
It features Renee Zellweger, Katy Mixon, Glenn Fleshler, Judy Greer, Gideon Adlon, Mariah Day, and Josh Duhamel as Joel Schwartz.