A Brief Chat with Director Erin Lee Carr on Her Documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest

You may already be familiar with the horrific and captivating story of mother-daughter pair Dee Dee and Gypsy Rose Blanchard, but if not, Erin Lee Carr’s forthcoming HBO documentary Mommy Dead and Dearest will bring it to your attention. A refresher per HBO: “Child abuse, mental illness and forbidden love converge in this mystery of a mother and daughter who were thought to be living a fairy tale life that turned out to be a living nightmare.”


Carr’s last film, as she explained to Fusion’s Dan Ilic at SXSW, where Mommy Dead and Dearest premiered this week, also tackled a case of true crime that captivated readers—and she first discovered the story on Gawker, Jezebel’s former sister site. Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop also went deeper into a scandalous story that dominated headlines, with new interviews from the misunderstood subjects themselves.

Carr discovered the topic of her new film similarly, through a post on Thought Catalog. “I just was completely obsessed with it and thought, I have to go talk to this woman,” Carr said, eventually managing to interview Gypsy Rose in prison, where she is currently incarcerated.

Mommy Dead and Dearest airs on HBO on May 15.


Kat Marlowe

And, apparently Gypsy is doing well in prison.

Perhaps the structure and the regimented environment is something she needs right now, after spending her whole life subject to the whims and machinations of her mother.