Renee Zellweger Addresses Wearing Fat Suit for ‘The Thing About Pam’: ‘The Idea Is Accuracy’

Renee Zellweger on Her 'Thing About Pam' Fat Suit: 'The Idea Is Accuracy'
Renee Zellweger. Earl Gibson III/Shutterstock

Explaining her decision. Renée Zellweger addressed her choice to wear a fat suit in her upcoming TV series, The Thing About Pam.

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“The idea is accuracy,” the Oscar winner, 52, told Entertainment Tonight in an interview published on Tuesday, March 1. “I think, especially in the case of telling this story, it was really important to as closely resemble Pam Hupp as we possibly could, because she seems so familiar. She seems like someone that we recognize and we know.”

The Cold Mountain actress plays convicted murderer Pam Hupp in the new show, which is based on a Dateline NBC podcast also titled “The Thing About Pam.” Hupp, 63, is currently serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger.

Fat suits, or body prosthetics, have become increasingly controversial over the years, but Zellweger said she felt that wearing one was necessary for her to paint a full picture of Hupp.

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“In order for you to better understand how possible it might be that people would project onto her who they are … or what kind of person she might be, it just seemed really important that we got as close to that as we could,” the Judy star told ET in the same interview.

Last year, Sarah Paulson faced criticism after she wore a body prosthetic to portray Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story. Ahead of the FX series’ premiere, the Carol actress, 47, admitted that she regretted wearing a fat suit for the show.

Renee Zellweger on Her 'Thing About Pam' Fat Suit: 'The Idea Is Accuracy'
Renee Zellweger as Pam Hupp in ‘The Thing About Pam.’ Skip Bolen/NBC

“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully. And that is an important thing for me to think about and reflect on,” the American Horror Story star told The Los Angeles Times in August 2021. “I also know it’s a privileged place to be sitting and thinking about it and reflecting on it, having already gotten to do it, and having had an opportunity that someone else didn’t have. You can only learn what you learn when you learn it.”

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The Ratched alum, who also gained 30 pounds for the role, went on to note that the decision to wear a fat suit wasn’t only hers. “That entire responsibility I don’t think falls on the actor for choosing to do something that is arguably — and I’m talking about from the inside out — the challenge of a lifetime,” she explained. “I do think to imagine that the only thing any actor called upon to play this part would have to offer is their physical self is a real reduction of the offering the actor has to make.”

Zellweger, for her part, hasn’t addressed any potential backlash for The Thing About Pam, but she said that learning to act in a full-body prosthetic was difficult.

“It was one thing to put it on and feel like, ‘Yes, we did what we needed to do,’ and it was another thing to go tell a story,” the Texas native told The Hollywood Reporter on Monday, February 28. “It’s just a different skill set, and I didn’t have it, and I didn’t know I didn’t have it, so I needed to learn on the fly real quick.”

The Thing About Pam premieres on NBC Tuesday, March 8, at 10 p.m. ET.

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