She gained weight to star as Bridget Jones – but faced backlash after wearing a fat suit and prosthetics to get into character to play real life killer Pam Hupp.
And Renee Zellweger has responded to criticism she faced after some people felt a plus-sized actress should have taken on the role.
She transformed into the killer, who is serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger, for the upcoming NBC true crime series The Thing About Pam.
‘Look, you want to be respectful and responsible’: Renee Zellweger has responded to criticism for wearing controversial fat-suit and prosthetics to play real life killer Pam Hupp
And speaking to The Sunday Times magazine, Renee, 53, said: ‘Look, you want to be respectful and responsible.
‘There’s always a limit to how much you can establish an authentic approximation without being distracting.’
Plus-size writer Sarah Alexander previously told Metro.co.uk: ‘There are plenty of incredibly talented plus-size actresses that could have been hired for the role instead of Zellweger. Why were they overlooked and a fat suit considered a viable option?
‘For Zellweger to masquerade as a plus-size person is damaging, fatphobic and potentially triggering to other plus-size people. It seems like she has not considered the effects this will have on fat people, and is unaware and/or naive that she is adding to the stigma fat people already face on a daily basis.’
Renee said: ‘There’s always a limit to how much you can establish an authentic approximation without being distracting’
Motivation: The 52-year-old actress transformed into the killer, who is serving a life sentence for the 2016 murder of Louis Gumpenberger, for the upcoming NBC true crime series The Thing About Pam
Renee herself has said she was ‘amazed’ when she saw herself as murderer Hupp for the first time after donning a body prosthetic.
The star recently sat down for an interview with Entertainment Tonight and insisted that it was ‘really important’ for the viewers that she tried to look as much like Hupp as possible.
Speaking about seeing herself as Hupp for the first time, she said: ‘I was amazed. You might achieve a couple of things, but I had no expectation it was gonna be as remarkable as that.’
Zellweger stated that the project’s team was dedicated to making her look like the convicted murderer for the show.
‘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,’ she said.
The actress also pointed out that she wanted to look like the murderer as ‘she seems so familiar, she seems like someone that we recognize, and we know.’
Hard at work: Zellweger stated that the project’s team was dedicated to making her look like the convicted murderer for the show
Zellweger went on to express that the accuracy would serve to highlight multiple aspects of Hupp’s personality.
‘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.’
The series was mainly filmed in New Orleans, where it was regularly hot and humid, but Zellweger found the makeup process to be particularly impressive.
She added that, although the city’s temperatures were ‘really hot,’ she described her transformation as ‘amazing to watch.’
She pointed out that one of the prosthetic makeup artists had particularly impressed her with his attention to detail.
‘Arian, who builds these things and applies them every day, he creates them by hand and paints them down to the last freckle. His precision is remarkable. It’s part of the adventure, watching that happen every day, is pretty cool,’ she said.
The Bridget Jones’s Diary star revealed she was initially spending four hours being transformed into Hupp, but towards the end of filming it only took two hours.
She told E!: ‘We started at about four [hours] and we whittled it down to around two.’
Running it down: The Bridget Jones’s Diary star revealed she was initially spending four hours being transformed into Hupp, but towards the end of filming it only took two hours
Zellweger expressed that the prosthetics were particularly difficult to work with, which led to her spending long stretches of time in the makeup chair.
‘They have a mind of their own, you know? If everybody cooperates – the cheeks are feeling like playing nice, the nose, and everything. But yeah, it took about a couple of hours,’ she said.
The performer also remarked that she now saw acting with the usage of prosthetic makeup as a new challenge unto itself.
‘It was kinda fun to learn about it. I didn’t know that trying to tell a story and act with the prosthetics on is a whole different thing. I didn’t know it was a skill that I didn’t have,’ she stated.
Roughing it: Zellweger expressed that the prosthetics were particularly difficult to work with, which led to her spending long stretches of time in the makeup chair
Pam Hupp: The ‘serial killer’ serving life without parole after slaying a disabled man and her own friend
This year, convicted killer Pam Hupp was finally charged with the 2011 murder of her friend who she is accused of stabbing 55 times, before smearing the woman’s blood around her home in a plot to frame the victim’s husband.
Hupp, who is already serving a life sentence for shooting a disabled man dead in 2016, appeared in court in Lincoln County, Missouri, in July for the first time over the murder of Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Faria.
The 62-year-old is charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action for Faria’s slaying back on December 27 2011.
Convicted killer Pam Hupp appeared in court in Lincoln County, Missouri, Tuesday morning for the 2011 murder of her friend Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Faria
Prosecutors say Hupp killed Faria four days after persuading her to switch a $150,000 life insurance policy to Hupp.
She then allegedly tried to stage the scene to make it appear that Faria’s husband Russell Faria killed her.
Russell was initially convicted of his wife’s murder in 2013 and sentenced to life in prison. His conviction was overturned in 2015 before he was found not guilty in a retrial where prosecutors argued Hupp was responsible.
Hupp was sentenced to life without the possibility for parole in 2019 for luring Louis Gumpenberger, 33, to her home claiming to be a producer for Dateline before shooting him dead in an elaborate plot to divert attention from herself in the Faria case.
Speculation has also swirled that she was responsible for her own mother’s fatal fall in 2013.
Elizabeth ‘Betsy’ Faria and husband Russell Faria. Russell was wrongly convicted of his wife’s murder in 2013
The convicted killer is accused of murdering Faria, her friend and coworker at State Farm, to get her hands on her $150,000 life insurance.
Prosecutors said Hupp was the last person to see Faria alive and knew her friend’s husband was out with friends at the time of the killing.
Faria was suffering from cancer at the time of her murder and was undergoing chemotherapy.
Prosecutors say Hupp gave Faria a ride home from her chemotherapy treatments on December 27 2011, knowing she would be weak and lethargic.
Hupp (left) is already serving a life sentence for shooting Louis Gumpenberger, 33, (right) dead to divert attention from herself in the Faria case
Hupp is seen in a police interview just hours after her friend Faria’s murder
She then allegedly stabbed Faria 55 times as she lay on a couch under a blanket.
Then, Hupp dipped the victim’s socks in her own blood and spread it around the house to frame Russell for killing her her in a domestic assault, prosecutors say.
Russell came home to find his wife’s body lying in a pool of blood and called 911, telling the dispatcher ‘my wife killed herself’ after she had spoken of suicide amid her terminal cancer battle.
The investigation quickly focused in on Russell despite him having an alibi for her murder.
He was charged and, at his murder trial, Hupp became a star witness who helped secure his conviction.
Investigators have since been accused of mishandling the initial investigation and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department last year reached a $2 million settlement with Russell for his wrongful conviction.