Judy Greer made her The thing about Pam co-star Renée Zellweger laughed so hard on set her prosthetic makeup almost fell off, she said Newsweek.
The NBC True Crime series follows the investigation into the 2011 Betsy Faria murder case and in particular her friend Pam Hupp’s (Zellweger) involvement in the trial and what she did afterward.
Episode 3, which aired Tuesday, March 22, featured the series’ first courtroom scene, with Pam becoming a star witness in the trial of Russ Faria, Betsy’s husband, who is charged with her murder.
Greer, who plays former Lincoln County District Attorney Leah Askey, is given the spotlight in Episode 3 as her character uses her skills as a lawyer to convince a jury of Russ’s guilt, despite the lack of evidence proving it.
It was between those dramatic courtship scenes that Greer made Zellweger laugh, so much that the prosthetics that turned her into Pam began to come off.
Judy Greer talks hilarious antics with Renée Zellweger
“We had to be careful because we were laughing so hard, but she had prosthetics, so her prosthetics would like to spoil and they would have to fix them,” Greer said. Newsweek.
“I’m thinking ‘I have to be careful not to make her laugh’ because I don’t want her to have to put all this glue on her face just because I’m screwed.
“[I was] try to make her laugh because that’s how I always try to seduce people, by making them laugh. So I was like, ‘ok, don’t do that this time Judy.'”
The thing about Pam showrunner Jenny Klein said Newsweek earlier this month on the artistic genius shown by special effects makeup artist Arjen Tuiten in turning Zellweger into the Hupp. “He sculpted silicone gel facial applications that mimicked the real Pam Hupp, down to the scar on her chin. Due to their delicate nature, each piece of silicone could only be used once. was basically like throwaway art and crazy to see thrown away every day!” said Klein.
While they shared many hilarious antics on set, Greer was also aware of impressing Zellweger because of how much she respects her.
the Archer star said: “I was very blown away by her, I mean I wasn’t nervous but I wanted to impress her, and besides being my stage partner, she was my boss because she’s executive producer of the show, so there was a bit of that, too. But she was amazing and lovely, and kind, and really fun to play with.”
Greer went on to share that Zellweger’s makeup transformed her so much that she barely recognized her off-set, especially when they first met at a Thanksgiving party.
“I mean, it was entertaining the first day I was on set to perform with her because she’s so amazing and she’s always been one of my favorite actresses, so the combo was a lot to take,” Greer explained.
“But she looks so different from herself, I’ve never met the real Renee, I met Pam for the first time, and it wasn’t until a month and a half later, when we celebrated Thanksgiving, a group of us together, which Renée Zellweger walked to the apartment of our friend, her producing partner, Carmella Casinelli.
“We were celebrating Thanksgiving and I was like, ‘Oh, oh, it’s Renée Zellweger! “. Like, I just thought of her as what she looked like when she was playing Pam all the time.
“And she was looking at me like, ‘Who is this person with long blonde hair? Who is this person?’ So we had this fun moment six weeks after we started working together.”
How Skittles and Josh Duhamel helped her through courtroom scenes
The thing about Pam marked Greer’s first time playing a lawyer, as well as his first time in a courtroom scene like the one in Episode 3, so it was a nerve-wracking experience at first.
“I was channeling my inner Sam Waterston after years of watching Law and orderI was ecstatic,” she said. “I was more nervous about those scenes than I have been in a long time.
“I’ve never played a lawyer, I’ve never done a scene in a courtroom, so I cared so much that I felt like I knew what I was doing because I wanted that feels like you’ve been to law school.
“It was really fun doing them… I mean, the writing was so good, but also bouncing back with Josh Duhamel, he’s just an amazing scene partner and he’s so much fun and he’s so funny.”
Duhamel plays Russ’ lawyer, Joel Schwartz, who fought to defend him when Leah was trying so hard to do the opposite, but despite the animosity between their characters, Greer shared that she and Duhamel had a lot of fun on the tray.
“You never know what to expect when you meet actors that you’re going to work with for three months who you work with so intimately, and I don’t mean intimate, but you know what I mean,” explained Rig. “They were great scenes for both of us and we worked very, very hard on them and were very proud of ourselves. I was always very happy when I got it in one take, I was like ‘Yeah!’ “
Greer also said of his co-star, “He was so funny and we all had so many funny jokes and beats, or dots, where we all started laughing. [saying] ‘Hold on, hold on, hold on. Let me come back, let me get it back.'”
In order to prepare for the arduous scenes in the courtroom, Greer used a surprising method to stay energized on set: she ate Skittles.
“I ate a lot of Skittles for energy and it became a joke,” Greer explained. “Then the team was hiding packages of Skittles all along my desk in the courtroom, I opened a filing cabinet and there were Skittles in it.
“Everyone was laughing at me because that was how I had my energy, and I’m sure the editor will tell you there were a lot of scenes where I was like, ‘wait a second’ , and they would be like ‘action’ and I’m still chewing.
“So I would say Skittles got me through the courtroom scenes, and Josh Duhamel.”
It wasn’t all a joke
Despite the ensuing hilarity on set, Greer added that she and her co-stars were very aware of how important it was for them to take the topic seriously, given that it’s based on a real-life case.
She said: “The thing is, it was fun and we joked around, and we kept it exciting every day. We were in the courtroom for nine or ten days, it’s very long to be on a set and a lot of these people were like sitting there all the time.
“So we wanted to make sure that we all felt like we were on stage all the time, and every once in a while we would joke around or something, and then come back on stage and realize that it’s a trial about a woman who was murdered, and then it would get really heavy.
“I think it was all really appropriate, I hope you still feel that in the episode, that it wasn’t a joke [to us].”
“I remember at one point I had a bite of Skittles and then I swallowed them and said ‘OK, I’m ready’ and then showed pictures of the crime scene to Jesse Scott Egan, who played [Detective] Michael Merkel, on the witness stand and seeing our crime scene production photos and feeling like I’ve been hit by a truck.
“How so awful, and this woman was killed, and these two girls lost their mother, and this man lost his wife and they still haven’t convicted anyone for this crime, you know, and what that must be for the family.
“So you might have a really fun time and then all of a sudden you’re like, ‘Oh my God, okay,’ this isn’t just a scenario someone made up.”
The Thing About Pam airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET.