After the case of Gypsy Rose Blanchard made headlines worldwide, actress Joey King said she had to completely transform herself to portray the teen now famous for ditching her wheelchair and hatching a plan to have her abusive mom killed.
King said her role as the convicted murderer in Hulu's "The Act" was "very different from the things I've been doing."
"I was able to showcase something that I haven't showcased before, that I can completely transform myself," King said in an interview E! News.
The 19-year-old actress said she went back to basics to get her part just right. She approached the role differently from any other, she said.
"I decided to strip away everything I thought I knew about acting, about anything, and just completely try and dive in and become someone else who's alive," King added.
King did extensive research on the case to land the role, E! News reported. She watched interviews with Blanchard and read all she could. She impressed the show's producers by nailing Blanchard's now-famous high-pitched voice — an impression show runners had asked auditioners not to attempt.
"We wanted the actress to be concentrating on the substance of the scene, not to get caught up in any fakery," executive producer Michelle Dean told E! News. "Nonetheless as soon as she spoke, Joey made the character's facade seem so rich — you couldn't take your eyes off of her."
But King wasn't trying her hand in method acting — she said that's not her thing. She simply tried to imagine what it would be like to be in Blanchard's shoes, and "when you put yourself in the mind space of being in that character's position the feelings and the emotions really just flow through you," King said.
Though King shaved her head and wore prosthetic teeth for the show, playing a real person was one of the bigger challenges she faced.
"A lot of the times we had to stop ourselves and be like, ‘Oh my god, this really happened. This is insane.' And then it would completely darken the whole mood. Because once you think about the surroundings and what you're actually filming actually happened, it just becomes so sinister and made me so sad," King said.
The real Blanchard made a plan in 2015 with her then-boyfriend for him to murder her mother, who had abused her for years and forced her to stay in a wheelchair and pretend she was terminally ill. She is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence after accepting a plea deal to second-degree murder. She is reportedly engaged and is eligible for parole in 2024, when she'll be 32.