Renee Zellweger, 52, looks like a completely different person in her new true crime limited series, The Thing About Pam. Renee plays convicted killer Pam Hupp, 63, in the NBC series premiering on March 8, and photos from her new interview with Vanity Fair (published on Feb. 2) show the startling transformation. Renee completely matched Pam’s appearance, and it’s pretty remarkable to see just how much the Oscar winner changed for this TV role.
Renee spoke about transforming into Pam — who was involved in different murders, one in 2011, and another in 2016 — in her interview. “It was pretty much head to toe. It was prosthetics, it was a [padded] suit, it was the choice of clothing, it was the briskness in her step-step-step, her gait. All of those things were really important because all those bits and pieces are what construct the person that we project our own conclusions and presumptions onto.”
Showrunner Jenny Klein said it “was totally surreal” seeing Renee as Pam for the first time on set. “I had studied so many hours of Pam, the real person, on police surveillance videos, and then here she was walking onstage in front of me. And it wasn’t just the physical transformation. It was the way Pam carries herself, her dropped foot, her mannerisms, her sniffs, and even the way she often talks with her hands,” Jenny said. “It was completely mind-blowing because I didn’t see Renée. I saw Pam. And that was also a little bit scary.”
Back to Renee, the Bridget Jones’s Diary star revealed what she learned about the convicted killer. “It seems like she’s of generous character, that she’s thoughtful, and that she’s a good friend I guess that’s part of the deception, isn’t it? Because you might assume that that’s as far as it goes.” As for the show, Renee said it “reveals a lot about social and personal bias, and how that comes to play in the criminal justice system.” She continued, “I think the bigger picture is a reflection of where we are socially right now. We have such certitude about the conclusions that we’ve drawn, how we define certain things, and we’re hesitant to move from our positions based on new information. We would rather find peripheral, unsubstantiated information that supports the view we already have, because somehow that ideology makes us feel safe.”
The Thing About Pam will chronicle Pam’s involvement behind the death of two people: her friend Betsy in 2011 and later, Louis Gumpenberger in 2016. Court documents have alleged that Pam stabbed her friend to death in her home and pinned the crime on Betsy’s husband Russ, who was falsely convicted in 2013. (His conviction was overturned in 2015.) She’s currently serving a life sentence for fatally shooting Louis, who was involved in Pam’s framing of Russ.