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Joey King delves into a twisted true-life killing in ‘The Act’

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Joey King will tell you that when it came to preparing for her role as Gypsy Rose Blanchard, the young woman whose twisted upbringing would make headlines after her involvement in the death of her mother, that it was as much a mental journey as it was a physical transformation.

Hulu’s “The Act” is a dramatization of the real-life horror story of Blanchard and her mother, Dee Dee. For years, Dee Dee made her daughter believe that she suffered from a number of serious health maladies, earning the pair public sympathy and help from charity organizations. Experts would later deem it to be a case of Munchausen by proxy syndrome, a mental disorder in which a caregiver makes up or induces illnesses for sympathy or attention. After figuring out she hadn’t really been sick, Gypsy helped to plot her mother’s death in 2015. (Gypsy is currently serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to her role in her mother’s killing.)

The case gained national attention following the release of a 2016 Buzzfeed article and an HBO documentary, “Mommy Dead and Dearest.” King, 19, relied on interview footage to help capture Gypsy’s demeanor and childlike voice. She also wore prosthetic teeth and shaved her head to better resemble Gypsy. But then came the internal navigation.

I had to imagine what Gypsy was like in her more quiet moments by herself,” King said when she recently stopped by the L.A. Times video studio. “There’s this way that she is around her mom — and you can see a lot of that in the footage that’s been put out there. But when she’s alone, I imagined, what I put out there, would just be a little bit different — especially as time goes on.

“The Act,” which is nearing the end of its first season, spends most of its time exploring the mother-daughter dynamic over a seven-year stretch, after the two moved to a home built by Habitat for Humanity in Springfield, Mo., in 2008. It chronicles how Gypsy comes of age — or at least tries to in secret — and slowly realizes the deception at play.

The bottom line is, she and her mom both had the same desire: to love and be loved,” King said. “But Dee Dee’s love for Gypsy was so toxic and so unhealthy that even though Gypsy loved her, she just wasn’t getting what a young girl needs from a mother or from anyone. So doing these things in secret, eating the sugar, I wanted to play that. There is a sense of guilt from Gypsy when she does all these things because she does love her mom. You should never get the sense, throughout the series, that Gypsy hates her mom. … I think when Gypsy is experiencing these new things on her own, it’s exciting, it’s freeing, it’s her little secret, but there is a sense of guilt that comes with that because she doesn’t want to hurt the person that is closest to her even though she wants to break away from that closeness.

Full article: latimes.com

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Joey King talks about her acting career, goals, and future projects

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Joey King has come very far from her days as a child actor. The burgeoning star is transitioning into a brilliant film and television career as she approaches her 20th birthday, most recently giving a command performance in The Act on Hulu. In the series, King plays Gyspy Rose Blanchard who murdered her abusive mother who spent her life fabricating her illnesses and disabilities to scam people.

King has proven her range and depth as an actress as she takes on these more challenging roles. At 5’4’’ she’s the little lady with the big acting range. Last year she started in The Kissing Booth on Netflix, proving her ability to take on leading lady roles in romantic comedies. From comedy to drama, King has proven she can do it all and then some.

AS IF sat down with her to discuss her recent and upcoming projects, her approach to acting technique, and her other interests and passions in addition to acting.

Let’s talk about your character Gypsy in The Act. Playing Gypsy was the first time you transformed yourself for a role. Tell me about the process of that transformation and the responsibilities you have of telling the story of a person who’s still alive?
People have been asking me if I am a Method actor who stayed in character on and off set, and the answer to that is no. I’m not the type of person that can do that mentally, it would take too much of a toll on me. But, there were times when I took Gypsy home and it was really hard to shake her off. I had to decompress by watching cartoons. I started the process of becoming her by getting to know her through information available online, like news articles and videos. I was really lucky that we had Michelle Dean working on the project with us. Michelle was the writer who wrote the Buzzfeed article that made the story go viral, and she was one of our producers. Michelle was on Gypsy’s side because she had a personal relationship with her, so I could turn to Michelle whenever I had any questions.

You are not a Method actor, but let’s talk about the scene in the court room. It was very emotional. How did you get to that place?
I definitely give myself about five minutes to get into a certain headspace before the camera rolls. It’s interesting because I’m playing a character I don’t have a lot in common with, so getting in that headspace takes more focus because I’m trying to relate to something that I can’t possibly begin to imagine. I was really fortunate to have such great directors, and the entire crew was so supportive that it made the process that much easier. Once I started getting into the headspace of the heavier scenes the character that I came to know took over for me—once I started going to that place my character knew what to do.

Do you prefer acting in one genre more than the any other?
My heart lies with drama. I love all genres, like comedy, but my heart lies in drama and when working in drama I feel most productive.

This is not the first time that you’ve shaved your head for a part.
Right.

The first time you did was when you were 11-years-old?
Yes.

You had a lot of controversy aimed at you for doing so, and one would think in today’s day and age, where many stigmas and stereotypes are dissolving, that women could shave their head without an onslaught of negative comments.
Shaving my head again, this time for The Act, and playing a character so different than anything I’ve ever done before, helped me learn so much about myself. I have never felt happier than working on this project. Shaving my head was something I was a nervous about even though I had done it before. I don’t know what has happened to me over the years, but the negative comments people say don’t really register anymore, which I’m so thankful for because I feel beautiful, and I feel proud of myself. I feel proud of myself for being allowed to play this character and to work with actors I admire so much. I am proud that I got to tell someone’s life story to the best of my ability. This was such a great opportunity for me as an actor that it didn’t even cross my mind that people would judge me for the cosmetic aspects of the role. The reality is I’m proud of myself and happy with the way I look. It was a bizarrely enjoyable experience to be able to completely strip away all vanity and become Gypsy, so fuck what other people say, I’m proud of myself! (laughs)

Full  interview: asifmag.com

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Joey King Is Coming For Her Netflix & Hulu Crown

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The 19-year-old actress became a teen queen after starring in Netflix’s The Kissing Booth. Her next role, in Hulu’s The Act, is poised to take her even higher.

When I meet Joey King on a warm day in early March, the 19-year-old actress is wearing overalls, Doc Martens, and a teal Piaget watch which retails for over $18,000 (she says she’ll pass it down to her kids someday). A pink and yellow bouncy ball rests in her front pocket, but she has no idea how it got there.

She’s arrived first for our meeting at her favorite restaurant — a light, airy market-style eatery in Studio City that serves artisanal pickles, fresh-baked baguettes, and prosciutto-topped burrata. With a book in her hand, she’s wrapping up a chat with a friend. “I always run into people I know here,” she says, laughing, before hugging her friend goodbye, selecting our table, and whisking me over to the deli counter. She insists on getting the pickles (she gets them every time), points out three dishes every first-timer must try, and makes easy conversation with everyone behind the counter. Later, we’ll be interrupted by writer-director Mike White, who she’ll introduce as “my 2:30” before settling back into her chair. This afternoon, she’s drinking iced green tea, but explains that her usual coffee order is either an iced latte with oat or almond milk or straight black coffee, something she learned to drink while working on sets (“I used to do the thing where you put like 17 Splendas in it, and I just grew out of it,” she says).

Joey Lynn King has learned a few things after 15 years in Hollywood — lessons she’ll need right now during a make-or-break, career-defining moment, thanks to her transformative dramatic role as Gypsy Rose Blanchard in the highly anticipated series The Act, premiering March 20 on Hulu, and the coming sequel to The Kissing Booth, the Netflix rom-com that made her a next-generation streaming star.
I think my favorite part is seeing The Kissing Booth fans really rally behind me for The Act,” she says. “I’m really excited for them to see me in a completely different light.
It’s easy to root for King to leverage this fleeting opportunity to go from being an actor who gets asked “Are you famous?” to a member of the Hollywood elite. “It’s so funny to me when people recognize me,” she says. “Sometimes they come up to you, and they can’t quite place where you’re from, so they just ask you, ‘Are you famous?’ And I just [think], ‘Well, you don’t know my name. So clearly not.’
She’s easygoing, open, and seemingly unfazed by her rising celebrity status — which isn’t always the case for someone who wears a watch that costs more than some cars. She’s tried on just about every genre in her career — from kid comedies to sinister horror flicks. As Elle in The Kissing Booth, King showed teenagers that a romantic comedy can be led by a girl who feels weird about her changing body and doesn’t wake up with the bombshell waves and fully painted face of a Pretty Little Liar every morning. But nothing has stretched her range or talent as extensively as her new Hulu gig. “I’ve never really gotten to showcase that I can become a different person,” she says. “I completely let go of all my vanity.

King grew up in Simi Valley, just a stone’s throw (or two-hour drive in traffic) from Los Angeles. Her parents are typical suburbanites, uninvolved in the hustle of Hollywood, and yet the acting bug called King and her two sisters, Hunter King (who stars on Young & The Restless) and Kelli King (who’s appeared on shows like Grey’s Anatomy). Between her frequent visits home and King’s mom tagging her daughters in unfiltered, candid snaps from home as @MasterKingMom on Instagram, King says her family keeps her feet on the ground.

She got her start at age 4 with bit parts on shows like The Suite Life of Zack And Cody. She then progressed to playing a series of spunky pre-teens in movies like Ramona and Beezus, Crazy, Stupid, Love., and Battle Los Angeles. More serious roles followed as she transformed into the young Talia Al Ghul to Marion Cotillard’s adult Dark Knight Rises villain and played Deputy Grimly’s daughter Greta on season 1 of FX’s critically beloved series Fargo.

Full article: refinery29.com

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Joey King’s Preparation For ‘The Act’ Was About So Much More Than Shaving Her Head

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You already know Joey King plays Gypsy Rose Blanchard in Hulu’s highly anticipated new series The Act, which tells the devastating true story of an extremely toxic mother-daughter relationship. You’ve probably seen the Instagram video, too, where King shaved off all her hair to transform into character. And chances are, you’ve watched the 2017 HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest, which first brought this mind-blowing tale to TV after a 2016 BuzzFeed article by Michelle Dean sparked widespread interest. You’re likely also aware of the story’s tragic ending: The real-life Gypsy is currently in prison, serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to the second-degree murder of her mother, Dee Dee, after conspiring with a man she fell in love with online. That man, Nicholas Godejohn, was sentenced to life in prison.

You already know all these things, and if you didn’t, you know them now. But beyond the shocking headlines and disturbing details of the case, King’s role as Gypsy Rose Blanchard involved so much more than a five-second video with electric clippers.

Of course, King understands the appeal of the story. “The reality is, people really enjoy tuning in to true crime,” she says. “There’s something super intriguing and very stimulating about trying to get inside the mind of a criminal, and Dee Dee and Gypsy are both criminals.

But King is equally conscious of the subject’s gravity. The case is nowhere near simple: Gypsy is a victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, and her mother Dee Dee (played by Patricia Arquette) perpetuated this form of child abuse, where someone causes or makes up an illness in a person under their care. “What I want to get across is that if you are not a sympathizer with Gypsy, watch this show and you’ll start to rethink calling her a ‘cold-blooded killer,'” King says. Spending so much time playing Gypsy meant King found ways to understand her mindset. “She’s a victim. This poor girl went through so much only to sit in prison now. It’s no life.

While King does acknowledge Gypsy’s responsibility for her actions, including lying about her abilities and helping her mother deceive others, the actor believes it was out of fear. “She became a master manipulator, not by choice, but by survival,” she says. In the show, Dee Dee is depicted as reacting violently if Gypsy dared disobey.

I would sometimes fall asleep listening to her interviews… so that I could get her voice really ingrained in my brain.

Beyond the physical transformation of shaving her head and wearing four separate sets of fake teeth, King did as much research as she could about the disorder. But educating herself on Munchausen by proxy wasn’t easy. “One in 10 cases is fatal for the victim,” King explains, “so a lot of the time, we don’t get to hear from the victims because they die before they even get the chance to escape their circumstances.”

Although King says she couldn’t meet Gypsy face-to-face, she took mastering the nuances of her personality and physicality seriously, consuming any actual footage of Gypsy she could find online. “I would sometimes fall asleep listening to her interviews, like in my ears in my headphones, so that I could get her voice really ingrained in my brain,” the actor says. She also made sure to subtly differentiate between the character’s behavior when she’s around her mother and around anyone else. When Gypsy isn’t with Dee Dee, King explains, “It’s a very slight thing. You can see that she just wants her womanhood to come out, and she wants to be a normal teenage girl with sexual desires and friends and a boyfriend.

Full article: bustle.com

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‘The Act’ shows a new side to the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case — and its two stars

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If you think your relationship with your mom is complicated, Hulu’s new series “The Act” will offer a dose of perspective.

The first season of the anthology drama, starring Patricia Arquette and Joey King, follows the strange real-life case of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter, Gypsy Rose. For years, Dee Dee (Arquette), a single mom living in Missouri, convinced the public that her wheelchair-using daughter (King) was chronically ill — all while collecting donations and gifts from charity organizations.

That is, until Gypsy Rose, after figuring out the sham, plotted her mother’s murder. The pair gained national attention after a 2016 BuzzFeed article and an HBO documentary, “Mommy Dead and Dearest,” chronicled their troubled and tragic mother-daughter relationship. (Gypsy is serving a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to her role in her mother’s death.)

Experts have said Gypsy likely was the victim of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a mental disorder in which a caretaker induces or fabricates illness in another person to gain attention or sympathy. Pop culture most recently put that form of abuse into view in HBO’s “Sharp Objects.”

There are two people whose main desire is to love and be loved; they just go about it in the most unhealthy way,” says King, seated alongside Arquette, during a recent interview.

Yes,” adds Arquette, “These were two people on a collision course. Nothing good was going to come of this. One of them was always going to end up dead.

Hulu’s scripted dramatization, which premieres Wednesday, is based on the BuzzFeed article by Michelle Dean, who is also a writer and executive producer on the series. (Dean served as co-showrunner along with “Channel Zero’s” Nick Antosca.) It follows Lifetime’s take on the events (“Love You to Death”) earlier this year.

In an interview, Arquette and King talked about diving into the stranger-than-fiction story, portraying a troubled mother-daughter relationship, and being untethered to Hollywood’s standards of beauty. The interview has been edited for space and clarity.

There are two people whose main desire is to love and be loved; they just go about it in the most unhealthy way.

With stories like these — that are just so bizarre and wild — it’s easy to lose sight that there are real people involved and to go for the sensational. Were you worried about that going into this project?
Arquette: I think there’s a lot of things that lend themselves in this story to turning it into some kitschy thing. They love Disney, and their house was pink, and their room was purple, and the way that Gypsy’s voice had this affectation, and all the layers of deception. But I think people can understand a maternal relationship, even their mom over-mothering them. [And] I think most people make humor out of something that they can’t really imagine. They’re in utter shock that someone’s mom would intentionally harm them in any kind of way or make sense of how they could harm their own child.

Then there’s this kind of overarching thing of what happens at the end. It’s like [Gypsy] claims back her power, and there is a serious price to pay. Was that the right choice or the wrong choice? Were there other choices? But when you have Stockholm syndrome, on top of Munchausen by proxy victim, can you even see the choices that are ahead of you?

What sort of research did you both do before digging in?
King: I watched the documentary countless times. I found any interviews, any home videos I could scramble on the internet. It was really helpful to have Michelle Dean on our show, because I would go to her a lot. I would call her up a lot just for stories and information. The craziest thing for me was watching interviews of Gypsy now versus seeing footage of her home when she was younger and how different she is.

Gypsy’s kind of become a master manipulator herself. So it’s hard to know what’s real and what’s not. It was difficult to grasp on to anything, because I personally can’t say I can relate to anything about Gypsy.

Arquette: My daughter happened to be going away to school when we started this. There’s a natural instinct I as a mom have, to want to keep my daughter close, to want to keep her safe, to be worried about her in the world, to miss her so much, to wanna hug her so much, to miss her childhood, she’s growing up. I’m gonna take all those normal feelings but exploit them to perverse levels. I did kind of pull from my own normal feelings to a distorted feeling.

We haven’t really seen this kind of complex mother-daughter relationship on-screen until recently.
Arquette: I don’t know that in the past there was a ton of value people found in a mother-daughter relationship — especially one like this that’s kind of sick. You might have a “Gilmore Girls” kind of thing. But to have a relationship like this — that’s deadly, that’s toxic — we haven’t really seen that. I don’t think I’ve ever played a mom this dysfunctional before. Well, Joyce “Tilly” Mitchell [in “Escape at Dannemora”] was dysfunctional. But I mean where the dysfunction is focused on the child-parent relationship.

Full interview: latimes.com