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Director / CrewHi Fellow Weirdos. Documentary director and writer Erin Lee Carr here to answer questions about HBO's Mommy Dead and Dearest and beyond about the true crime tragedy of the Gypsy Rose Blanchard case. Ask me Anything!

May 17th 2017 by starsxxx • 28 Questions • 70 Points

In Mommy Dead and Dearest, provocative documentarian Erin Lee Carr (Thought Crimes: The Case of the Cannibal Cop) again explores a crime in the age of social media.

Watch the trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9L29EG8b8Gs

Proof: https://twitter.com/erinleecarr/status/864232575811944452

Q:

Is there another case you're interested in making a Documentary about?

A:

I have always been fascinated by the Elisa Lam case and Hot Car Dad. What exactly happened in both of those cases? I would really like to speak to Justin Ross Harris. I reached out to him and his lawyer but did not hear back.


Q:

So many questions about the medical community involved with her care. Did the doctor who documented notify authorizes? He is a mandated reporter.

Did you interview other physicians who received his report? Why didn't they do the hospitalized surveillance?

A:

Her general practicer, the Doctor who was really in charge of her care did report the potential abuse to the DYFS Hotline (Division of Youth and Family Services) and there was a welfare check at the house. Dee Dee was able to manipulate the situation and get out of the event unscathed. I have asked Gypsy about it, she said it was so odd. They checked under her feet.

We were very close to speaking with a doctor who actually performed a surgery but he backed out at the last minute, saying it was "too dangerous..."


Q:

Do you think the father could have done more for Gypsy? And what did you think about him during filming ?

A:

Honestly, I just have a lot of sadness and empathy for Rod and Kristy. He feels like he could have done more but I don't know how much he could have with Dee Dee moving her and Gypsy so far away and managing the relationship in such a close, insane way.

He was guarded and uncomfortable at the start of filming but as time went on he got more easy going with us. I think it's so funny to look at twitter and see everyone comment how cute he is!


Q:

My husband and I just watched Mommy Dead and Dearest last night and were hooked right from the start, what an insane and sad story! What are your favourite true crime documentaries?

A:

So glad you were hooked, that is so great for our team to hear! I was completely obsessed with OJ, Making a Murderer and the Staircase. I am re-watching Making a Murderer right now and hot damn they know how to build a cliffhanger.


Q:

The Staircase is definitely my favourite, I wish I could erase my memory and watch it all over again.

A:

Is there anything else like it?


Q:

The only other one I can think of is The Jinx, which was also crazy good.

A:

God, I love the Jinx.


Q:

My grandparents live next door to Claude and Laura! My wife and I were obsessed with this case and loved your doc!

When interviewing Gypsy, did you get the feeling that she wasn't being honest? Like when she breaks down about missing her mom. I just wonder how much of her mother's manipulating ways she picked up.

A:

OK, so I LOVE Claude and Laura! What an incredible house. I could have talked to them both for hours.


Q:

What about meeting with Gypsy was the most unsettling? Watching her giggle about her relationship with her mother made me extremely comfortable.

A:

I actually had some pictures of her and her mom together that I wanted to have her describe to me. I wanted to understand the "good" parts of the relationship, if there were any. She became very upset. I realized I had cross cover a boundary.

I also felt so upset that she had to wear handcuffs the whole interview...


Q:

Took me a minute.

A:

Oh god, the specifics of him masterbating in the MacDonalds? I am pretty sure the was arrested for having a weapon on him aka a knife, the masterbating charge may have been indecent exposure.


Q:

When Nicholas talks about having sex with Gypsy in the movie theater bathroom, did that really happen or was he lying? How could she have left the theater to do that without her mother knowing?

A:

Gypsy confirmed to me that they did have sex in the bathroom which always felt weird to me given the fact that Gypsy was a virgin?


Q:

Maybe this is is a strange question but was Gypsy's "baby voice" real? I got the feeling it isn't her real voice but she's been doing it for so long so now it's stuck.

A:

It's really real. I know...


Q:

What made this film so fulfilling for you and why?

A:

I think we were able to give Gypsy a voice after she had been silenced for so long. That felt really important to me.

I also just am a gal who loves some true crime (holler @Myfavoritemurder) and the fact that it is my job to put FOIA requests in, to go to prisons and to work with people who want their story out there... that makes it so so fulfilling.


Q:

I definitely have some good ones I listen to. I wanted to like that one though

A:

I love the live Ted Bundy episode...


Q:

I remember them talking about Gypsy in an episode! It's amazing that you did this!

A:

It was so weird to listen to that ep while I was working on the case... Sword and Scale did a fantastic version of the ep a well...


Q:

What made you want to make a film about Gypsy and her mother in the first place? How did you discover the case?

A:

Alison Byrne (my co-producer) and I were trying to find cases where individuals confessed online and this case just happened to come into the public sphere that way. It was not a national news story though. We found it specifically through MJ Pack's thought catalogue piece. http://thoughtcatalog.com/m-j-pack/2015/06/terrifying-facebook-post-leads-to-discovery-of-brutally-murdered-mother-and-her-missing-disabled-daughter/


Q:

What is it about Wisconsin that always seems to connect the state to crazy murder stories?

A:

I went to university in Wisconsin and yes, there are tons of weirdos (like me!) but I believe we can find these stories in many US states. It is just about finding them.


Q:

Go Badgers?

A:

Class of 2010, I was never a sport person but definitely a great school.


Q:

I noticed they are good at sports and the mascot is tough looking.


Q:

What's your favorite subreddit?

A:

Definitely TIL, ELI5, documentaries and front page. It's a great place to find stories... What have you loved lately?


Q:

Which documentary was your biggest inspiration?

A:

I am a giant doc nerd and while I was making my first film "Thought Crimes," I watched a doc just about every night. My all time documentary inspiration (right now) would be:

For Ahkeem, 2016 Amanda Knox, 2016 Weiner, 2015. Citizen Four, 2014 Capturing the Friedmans, 2003 There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane, 2011 Deliver Us from Evil, 2008 Hoop Dreams, 1994 Enron, the Smartest Guys in the Room, 2005 Page One: Inside the New York Times, 2011

And THE STAIRCASE (2004-) Just a devastating series.


Q:

Omg There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane is so fucking good. I still try to think about what actually happened almost every day

A:

What do you think happened? Secret alcoholism?


Q:

In the photos Gypsy sent her boo/mother's murderer, she is wearing BDSM gear and a bikini. I am dying to know how she got these outfits. Her mother's tentacles were everywhere. How could she hid this stuff from her? Why wasn't her cell phone and computer monitored by DeeDee? I want to know what Gypsy's daily existence was like. Did she walk around? She had to know that she could walk bc she tried to run away. I got the feeling that Gypsy was sitting on a lot of her story bc she plans to monetize it when she is released.

A:

DeeDee was heavily medicated due to her own mental issues and so she would often "take naps," that is when Gypsy would play or talk to Nick. The outfits were from Walmart I got a lot of supplies there and I felt too creepy.


Q:

First of all, EXCELLENT documentary!! I'm so glad I caught it when it first aired. I watched it twice. It captivated me. I first read this story awhile back whole mindlessly scrolling. And I have so many questions! I honestly want to know more about what was going on while Gypsy was growing up. She claimed she knew she could walk, but Dee Dee made her believe she had all those illnesses. But when the home videos weren't rolling, and they were behind closed doors, was Gypsy a walking, talking, "normal" person with her mother? Or did the twisted, sick Dee Dee keep Gypsy confined all the time? She seems like a pretty smart girl. And we know Dee Dee's mother was a con as well. I really hope Gypsy does get the chance to live a normal life. This is mind boggling me, and I am so glad you brought this to life. And while this is a severe case of Munchausen's by proxy, maybe it'll get studied more. There are some crazy bitches out there! Thank you for this doc!

A:

Hi there, thanks so much for watching it 2x. What a compliment!

Gypsy was never a normal, walking/talking type person... you can see in the home movies she is still acting as if she was disabled. So so bizarre. It's almost as if Dee Dee had to convince herself...


Q:

Do you want Redditors to call you Erin, Erin Lee or Ms.Carter? I have a few questions. How did you know I was a weirdo?

Where did you get that cool black jacket from your twitter pic?

Your username starsxxx is interesting, what is meaning behind that?

What do you think of the media reviews of the film?

And will you work on similar films in the future?

A:

Call me Erin or ELC.

Most people I like are weirdos.

  1. Zara basic collection, leather is always good for the internet.
  2. Can't say
  3. Media reviews have been fantastic, I especially loved http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/12/entertainment/mommy-dead-and-dearest-review/ www.vox.com/2017/5/15/11435792/hbo-mommy-dead-and-dearest-review-southern-gothic AND THE NYTIMES https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/arts/television/review-the-bizarre-case-of-mommy-dead-and-dearest.html?_r=0 (favorite quote: “Mommy Dead and Dearest” is constructed like a Russian nesting doll of horror, revealing something new and unexpected in the tragic life of Gypsy Rose Blanchard and mother Dee Dee every few minutes." from RogerEbert.com: I would love to keep making true crime films, I just think there is an appetite for it.

Q:

Thanks for answering.


Q:

I noticed the last name Carr,Is that columnist and reporter related to you? If so, that is cool. If not quite coincidental. I will.check it out.

A:

Yes he is my dad. I LOVE what he has to say in it.

Keep typing until it turns into writing


Q:

I'll be sure to give them a look! Watching Mommy Dead and Dearest now it's great.

A:

Thank you!


Q:

What is your favorite part of the documentary process? Do you research yourself or do you have people helping you? Are you a Karen or a Georgia?

A:

I feel like I am a Karen honestly but I would love to be a Georgia. I personally love research, pitching and when my incredible editor Andrew Coffman says "hey wanna see this cut." Pure gold.