Renée Zellweger Is Unrecognizable as She Transforms Into Pam Hupp for Killer New Role

We're not in Kansas anymore! After winning the Oscar for playing Judy Garland, Renée Zellweger has completely transformed into her next real-life role: convicted murderer Pam Hupp.

By Lindsay Weinberg Oct 07, 2021 9:28 PMTags

If you made a Venn diagram of true crime fans and Bridget Jones's Diary addicts, the one thing in the middle would be Renée Zellweger playing convicted murderer Pam Hupp.

This week, fans got a first look at the Judy actress, 52, in costume in New Orleans, where she's filming the NBC TV show The Thing About Pam.

Zellweger was photographed on the snowy set, dressed in a fat suit with apparent facial prosthetics. While carrying a supersized "Chill Chugz" soda cup, she wore a puffy white jacket and matching fur-trimmed snow boots with oversized jeans (and not the cool kind).

Her strawberry blonde bob completed her makeover as Hupp, who is serving a life sentence for killing Louis Gumpenberger in 2016. According to NBC News, she entered an Alford plea, meaning she avoided the death penalty without admitting guilt to the murder.

Three months ago, Hupp was also charged with first degree murder in the case of Betsy Faria, who was stabbed to death in 2011. Hupp has denied any involvement in her murder.

Inside Renée Zellweger's Gorgeous Former California Home

Betsy, who was dying of cancer, changed her life insurance policy four days before she was attacked, giving her $150,000 policy to Hupp instead of her husband, according to NBC News. Lincoln County Prosecutor Mike Wood believes Betsy was "murdered for the insurance money."


Initially, Betsy's husband, Russ, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison seven years ago, but it was later overturned. He was found not guilty at his retrial in 2015.

Zellweger is serving as star and executive producer of The Thing About Pam, which is based on Dateline's true crime podcast. Josh Duhamel also joined the cast to play Joel Schwartz, Russ Faria's defense attorney. 

During a recent interview, Zellweger explained why she was so drawn to the case of Betsy Faria. "It goes beyond just the peculiarity of the story or the audacity of the behavior of everybody involved," she shared. "It's sort of a glaring illustration of currently topical social issues."

Zellweger, who is currently dating Ant Anstead, said she wanted to touch on how social bias and unconscious personal agendas come into play in the America justice system. "It also speaks to, I guess you could call it, white lady privilege in America," she continued. "And also it kinda has an interesting look at the sad invisibility of middle aged women in America and how in the most bizarre circumstances it can work to someone's advantage, as is probably the case in Pam Hupp's story." 

Keep scrolling to see more stars transform into real-life players for major roles.

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Lily James as Pamela Anderson

The English actress transformed into one of Hollywood's most celebrated sex symbols, Pamela Anderson, for the upcoming Hulu miniseries, Pam & Tommy.

Sebastian Stan as Tommy Lee

The actor dropped jaws after showing off his epic makeover as the Mötley Crüe rock star, Tommy Lee. Sebastian will play the musician for the new Hulu miniseries, Pam & Tommy.

Christian Serratos as Selena Quintanilla

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Andra Day as Billie Holiday

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Charlize Theron as Megyn Kelly

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Taron Egerton as Elton John

In Rocketman, the British actor played one of the most iconic musicians in the history of rock 'n' roll.

Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers

The actor played the late Fred Rogers in the 2019 movie You Are My Friend.

Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin

The singer and actress will take on the role of playing the Queen of Soul in an upcoming biopic about her life. It's set to release in August 2021.

Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg

After Natalie Portman dropped out, Felicity stepped in to play the late Supreme Court Justice in On the Basis of Sex, a biopic directed by Mimi Leder.

Margot Robbie as Tonya Harding

The actress produced and starred in I, Tonya, based on the disgraced figure skater's life.

Anthony Mackie as Martin Luther King Jr.

The actor played the civil rights leader opposite Bryan Cranston as President Lyndon B. Johnson in HBO's All the Way.

Jessica Lange as Joan Crawford

The Oscar winner stepped into the shoes of the late movie legend in Feud, Ryan Murphy's FX series about the making of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

Susan Sarandon as Bette Davis

The Dead Man Walking star played the acting legend in Feud.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Thomas Edison

The Oscar-nominated actor portrayed the famed inventor of the light bulb in Current War.

Tom Hiddleston as Hank Williams

The British actor starred as the late country singer in the 2015 film, I Saw the Light.

Johnny Flynn as David Bowie

The Lovesick star played the late rock legend in the 2020 biopic, Stardust

Parker Sawyers as Barack Obama

Parker Sawyers played the former president in Southside With You, a romantic dramedy loosely based on Barack's first date with Michelle Obama back in 1989.

Tika Sumpter as Michelle Obama

Tika Sumpter starred as the former First Lady in Southside With You.

Odette Annable as Trudy Cooper

"She was a groundbreaking woman, so ahead of her time. It's such an honor to play her," Odette previously told E! News of her Astronaut Wives Club character, who was an extremely skilled pilot in her own right.

Kerry Washington as Anita Hill

The Scandal star took on the role of the aide who accused U.S. Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual assault in 1991 in HBO's biopic Confirmation.

Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc

The Oscar nominee starred in The Founder, a biopic about the founder of the McDonald's empire.

Selma Blair as Kris Jenner

The Kardashians are headed to TV in a very different after being portrayed in Ryan Murphy's American Crime Story: The People V O.J. Simpson. Selma Blair played Kris Jenner, who was married to Simpson's attorney Robert Kardashian.

David Schwimmer as Robert Kardashian

The Friends actor portrayed the late Kardashian patriarch in FX's American Crime Story.

Jack O'Connell as Alexander McQueen

The Unbroken star was set to take on the role of the late designer in a film about his life. However, in 2020, it was announced he is being replaced.

John Travolta as Robert Shapiro

Travolta starred as O.J. Simpson's lawyer in FX's American Crime Story.

Eddie Redmayne as Lili Elbe

The Oscar winner played the transgender pioneer in The Danish Girl.

Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs

The Irish hunk stepped into the Apple co-founder's shoes in Danny Boyles' biopic.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing

In The Imitation Game, the Sherlock star took on the role of the English mathematician who helped crack the German Enigma code during World War II.

David Oyelowo as Martin Luther King Jr.

The British actor portrayed the iconic civil rights activist in the film Selma, which chronicled his crusade for equal voting rights.

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