Photo by Courtesy of Lifetime Copyright 2019
(NEW YORK) — This Saturday, Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden stars in Lifetime’s Love You To Death, a movie based on the HBO docuseries Mommy Dead and Dearest. The docuseries examined the real-life 2015 murder of Dee Dee Blanchard by her daughter, Gypsy Rose.
The murder drew attention because Blanchard had Munchausen syndrome by proxy, forcing Gypsy Rose to pass herself off as younger, disabled and chronically ill in order to gain sympathy and attention. She’d also subjected Gypsy to unnecessary surgery and medication.
Harden, whose character in the movie is based on Blanchard, says she wanted to work with Lifetime because “they’ve always told women’s stories.” And as she tells ABC Radio, currently, Lifetime is allowing those stories to be “a little bit more gritty, a little bit more dangerous and a little bit more universal.”
While a story like this doesn’t seem universal, Harden laughs, “Every teenager wants to murder their parent, first of all!”
She adds, “Second of all, many parents, certainly me, would fall on the side of being overly protective. So that I could relate to, about the mom.”
Relatable or not, Harden acknowledges that Munchausen by proxy isn’t actually something you’d expect to encounter in the real world, since it’s been used as a plot twist in TV shows and movies like Sharp Objects, The Sixth Sense and True Detective.
“We’ve seen it recently fictionalized but…this is a based on a real story, and we only know about it because it ended in a murder,” Harden says. “So had it not ended in a murder, we wouldn’t know about it. Which makes you think, ‘Gosh, how many cases of this go unreported and unknown about every year?’”
Love You to Death premieres Saturday at 8 p.m. ET.
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