'The Thing About Pam's' Judy Greer On Hilarious Antics With Renée Zellweger

Judy Greer made her The Thing About Pam co-star Renée Zellweger laugh so much on set her prosthetic make-up almost fell off, she told 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 in its aftermath.

Episode 3, which aired on Tuesday, March 22, featured the first courtroom scene of the series, with Pam becoming a star witness in the trial of Russ Faria, Betsy's husband, who was accused of her murder.

Greer, who plays former Lincoln County prosecutor Leah Askey, steps into the spotlight in episode 3 as her character uses her skills as a lawyer to convince a jury of Russ' guilt, despite a lack of evidence proving it.

It was in between these dramatic court scenes that Greer made Zellweger laugh, so much so that the prosthetics that transformed her into Pam would start to come off.

Judy Greer On Hilarious Antics With Renée Zellweger

"We had to be careful because we would be laughing so hard but she had prosthetics on, so her prosthetics would like mess up and they would have to fix them," Greer told Newsweek.

"I'm thinking 'I have to be careful not to make her laugh' because I don't want her to have to keep getting all that glue all over her face just because I'm f**king around.

"[I was] trying to make her laugh because that's how I always try to win people over, by making them laugh. So I was like, 'okay, don't do that this time Judy.'"

The Thing about Pam showrunner Jenny Klein told Newsweek earlier this month about the artistic genius shown by special effects makeup artist Arjen Tuiten in transforming Zellweger into Hupp. "He sculpted silicone gel facial applications that emulated the real Pam Hupp, even down to the scar on her chin. Because of their delicate nature, each silicon piece could be used only once. It was basically like disposable art and crazy to see thrown away each day!" Klein said.

While they shared many hilarious antics on set, Greer was also conscious 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 also in addition to being my scene partner she was my boss because she's an executive producer on the show, so there was a little bit of that too. But she was incredible and lovely, and nice, and really fun to act with."

Greer went on to share that Zellweger's make-up transformed her so much that she hardly recognized her off set, especially when they met each other for the first time at a Thanksgiving party.

"I mean it was distracting the first day I was on set acting with her because she's so incredible and she's always been one of my favorite actresses, so the combo of that was a lot to take," Greer explained.

"But she just looks so different from herself, I never met the real Renée, I met Pam first, and it wasn't until like a month and a half later when we celebrated Thanksgiving, a bunch of us together, that Renée Zellweger walked into our friend, her producing partner, Carmella Casinelli's, apartment.

"We were celebrating Thanksgiving and I'm like, 'Oh, oh that's Renée Zellweger!'. Like, I was just thinking about her as looking like how she looked when she was playing Pam the whole time,.

"And she was looking at me like, 'who is this person with long blonde hair? Who is that person?' So we had that 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 her first time starring in a courtroom scene such as the one in episode 3, so it was a nerve-racking experience at first.

"I was channeling my inner Sam Waterston from years of watching Law and Order, I was geeking out," she said. "I was more nervous about those scenes that I have been for anything in a long time.

"I have never played a lawyer, I've never done a courtroom scene, so I just cared so much that I feel like I did know what I was doing because I wanted it to seem like I'd actually been to law school.

"It was really fun to do them... I mean, the writing was so good, but also bouncing back and forth with Josh Duhamel, he's just such an incredible scene partner and he's so fun and he's so funny."

Duhamel plays Russ' attorney 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 set.

"You never know what to expect when you meet actors you're going to be working with for three months and working so intimately with, and I don't mean intimate, but you know what I mean," Greer explained. "These were big scenes for both of us and we worked really, really hard on them and we were very proud of ourselves. I was always very happy when I got it all right in one take, I'd be like 'Yes!'"

Greer also said of her co-star: "He was so funny and all of us had so many funny inside jokes and beats, or points, where we would all just start laughing [saying] 'hold on, hold on, hold on. Let me get back, let me get it back.'"

In order to prepare herself for the arduous courtroom scenes Greer used a surprising method to keep energized on set: she ate Skittles.

"I did eat a lot of Skittles for energy and that became a joke," Greer shared. "Then the crew were hiding packets of Skittles all along my desk at the courtroom, I would open a binder and there would be Skittles in there.

"Everyone was making fun of me because that was how I got my energy, and I'm sure the editor will tell you that there were many scenes where I'm like, 'just hold on a second,' and they'd 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 hilarity that ensued on set, Greer added that she and her co-stars were very aware of how important it was for them to take the subject matter seriously, given it is based on a true case.

She said: "The thing is that it was fun and we joked, and we kept it exciting every day. We were in the courtroom for like nine or 10 days, that's a really long time to be on one set and a lot of those people were just like sitting there for the whole time.

"So, we wanted to make sure that all of us felt like we were in the scene all the time, and every once in a while we would be joking around or something and then go back to the scene and realize that this is a trial about a woman who was murdered, and then it would get really heavy.

"I think that all that stuff was really appropriate though, hopefully you'll still feel that in the episode, that this wasn't a joke [to us]."

"I remember at one point having a mouthful of Skittles and then swallowing them and going 'Okay, I'm ready', and and then showing photos from the crime scene to Jesse Scott Egan, who was playing [Detective] Michael Merkel, on the witness stand and seeing our production photos of the crime scene and feeling like I was hit by a truck.

"Like this is so gruesome, and this woman was killed, and these two girls lost their mom, and this man lost his wife and they still haven't convicted anyone of this crime, you know, and what that must be like for the family.

"So you could be having a really fun moment and then all of a sudden just be like, 'oh God, right,' this isn't just some script that someone made up."

The Thing About Pam airs Tuesdays on NBC at 10 p.m. ET.

The Thing About Pam
The Thing About Pam
The Thing About Pam
Judy Greer, Josh Duhamel and Renée Zellweger in "The Thing About Pam", Greer spoke to Newsweek about the show and her hilarious antics on set.