(NBC) — It’s been the subject of multiple “Dateline” episodes and a popular “Dateline” podcast, now a true-crime story has inspired the limited series premiering Tuesday on NBC with “The Thing About Pam.”
When Renée Zellweger took on the challenge of playing Pam Hupp, she didn’t see it as just a role.
“I looked at it more as an examination of human behavior,” said Zellweger.
Hupp is the Missouri woman pleading not guilty to the 2011 stabbing murder of her friend Betsy Faria.
It’s a crime Faria’s husband Russ was initially convicted of but was later exonerated.
“It is a story that’s hard to believe, escalating absurdity as it goes along,” said Zellweger.
The two-time Academy Award-winning actress spent multiple hours a day getting makeup to resemble Hupp.
“Learning about prosthetics and learning about performing in prosthetics, is a skill that I didn’t know I didn’t have,” said Zellweger.
But Zellweger’s performance went beyond makeup.
“Like Pam’s cadence, the way she walked, the way she talks with her hands,” said Jenny Klein, an executive producer on the show. “The show is so steeped in the details.”
One detail amused her co-star, Josh Duhamel.
“She has this cackle,” said Josh Duhamel. “Like this crazy loud cackle that she developed and that’s how I knew she was in character.”
Co-star Judy Greer got to know the actress under all the makeup during downtime on set.
“I got to dig out little Renée and like, hang out with her and that was what made watching her be Pam so mesmerizing,” said Greer.
And all of those hours Zellweger spent in a makeup chair had side benefits.
“It’s a great time to catch up on things, Christmas shopping, check, email to your mom, check,” said Zellweger.
Now, viewers get to check out “The Thing About Pam.”
“The Thing About Pam” airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. right after a new episode of “This Is Us.”