Renée Zellweger Opened Up About Wearing A Controversial Fat Suit To Play The Real-Life Pam Hupp: “The Idea Is About Accuracy”

“It was really important to as closely resemble Pam Hupp as we possibly could.”

Renée Zellweger opened up about the reasoning behind wearing a body prosthetic for her role in the upcoming true-crime series The Thing About Pam.

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Renée will portray the titular Pam Hupp, who is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Louis Gumpenberger, a disabled man.

Nbc / NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

In the trailer for the miniseries, Renée is shown in a fat suit. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight, she said, “The idea is to be accurate, the idea is accuracy. 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.”

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The 52-year-old continued, “In order for you to better understand how possible it might be that people would project onto her who they are sure that she might be or what kind of person she might, it just seemed really important that we got as close to that as we could.”


Renée also added that the makeup and prosthetics process was “amazing to watch” and “part of the adventure” of acting, despite it being “really hot” to wear while filming in New Orleans for hours at a time. 

The reactions to the Oscar winner’s casting have been understandably negative, with viewers saying fat actors should have been hired for the role instead.

God forbid we hire a mid sized actress- no let’s put Renee Zellweger in a fat suit.
It’s 2022 and we’re still putting people in fat suits instead of hiring fat actresses.

12:55 AM – 04 Feb 2022

Twitter: @jmb3h93 / Via Twitter: @jmb3h93

Guess they had to put Renée Zellweger in a fat suit since there were absolutely no other actors in Hollywood to play the part.

04:26 AM – 03 Feb 2022

Twitter: @anthelonious / @blumhouse / Via Twitter: @anthelonious

okay I just saw a trailer for The Thing About Pam and um, gross? I listened to a podcast series about this case a few years ago, I’ve seen others cover it since, and having Renee Zellweger don a fat suit to play a really troubled woman who murdered her friend is…STOP IT

06:48 PM – 27 Feb 2022

Twitter: @elorraine_ / Via Twitter: @elorraine_

Just last year, fellow actor Sarah Paulson also faced criticism and backlash for donning a fat suit in her portrayal of Linda Tripp in Impeachment: American Crime Story. For her role, she gained 30 pounds in addition to wearing body padding.

Tina Thorpe / ©FX / Courtesy Everett Collection

Viewers called the decision “dehumanizing” and advocated for hiring plus-size actors instead.

“It’s very hard for me to talk about this without feeling like I’m making excuses,” she told the Los Angeles Times. “There’s a lot of controversy around actors and fat suits, and I think that controversy is a legitimate one. I think fatphobia is real. I think to pretend otherwise causes further harm.”

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However, she added that she believes the “entire responsibility” of that conversation doesn’t fall solely on the actor, and maintained that her casting went beyond the “physical self.” She said, “I would like to believe that there is something in my being that makes me right to play this part.”

“I think the thing I think about the most is that I regret not thinking about it more fully,” Sarah concluded, adding that she has the “privilege” to reflect on it in the aftermath and in retrospect would not have made the “same choice going forward.”

The Thing About Pam premieres on NBC at 10 p.m. PT on March 8.