Ripped from the headlines! True crime isn’t only a podcast phenomenon — many chilling stories have also been brought to life on the small screen.
Renée Zellweger shocked viewers with her major transformation for her role as the title character in NBC’s The Thing About Pam, which premiered in March 2022. The series puts the criminal justice system under a microscope as police in suburban Missouri investigate the death of Betsy Faria (Katy Mixon).
When asked what inspired her to sign on for the project, Zellweger told Harper’s Bazaar in her April 2022 cover story, “I wanted to do something that was lighter, which sounds absurd, because this is, you know, based on a horrific crime.”
The Texas native was a fan of the Dateline podcast of the same name before teaming up with NBC and Blumhouse Television. “What makes Pam so fascinating is how benign she appeared,” Zellweger told the magazine. “Everybody feels like, ‘I know her. I know that lady.’ Someone who looks like your next-door neighbor or the lady who would babysit you turns out to make some choices that are, to put it kindly, illegal. This person was so outrageous, this sense of entitlement — I thought, ‘OK, as an actress, that’s fun.’”
Along with the Oscar winner, the cast features an A-list lineup, from Josh Duhamel to Judy Greer. Following the series premiere, Greer opened up about the “heartbreaking” twists still to come throughout the season.
“This is an absurd story and we are trying to highlight that and be very respectful to the families that lost their loved ones,” the 13 Going On 30 star told Entertainment Weekly in March 2022. “We see more things unfolding in the back three episodes that are unbelievable. People ask me, ‘What is it about true crime?’ I don’t have an answer. I could also say, ‘Why do people slow down when there’s a car accident?’ We just can’t help ourselves. And this, to me, is one of the ultimate car accidents.”
Before Zellweger’s devious turn, true crime fanatics watched infamous cases play out on FX’s American Crime Story. The franchise began in 2016 with The People v. OJ Simpson and continued with The Assassination of Gianni Versace two years later. Darren Criss played the antagonist on the 2018 season, which came as a big surprise to those who watched him sing and dance on Fox’s Glee.
“People always ask me if it’s hard to live with a dark character and I say it’s no more difficult than living with the darkness in our world,” the Broadway performer told The Hollywood Reporter in November 2018. “I’m a happy-go-lucky person and I think that it’s because I embrace so much darkness and I embrace skepticism and negativity, and I’ve made my peace with it so I can be happy. In the same way that you can really embrace the dark, scary things about ourselves and with things about people like Andrew … you’re well aware of the fact that there is also light within this person and potential.”
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