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Is Hulu’s Run a True Story?

November 18, 2020
4 min read

Aneesh Chaganty’s 2020 suspense thriller ‘Run’ tells the story of Diane Sherman (Sarah Paulson) and her daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen). For all of Chloe’s life, her mother has taken care of her. She has led a primarily secluded life, cut off from the rest of the world. But then she learns that her mother has been purposefully keeping her sick by giving her the wrong medications, one of which is actually for dogs. This realization sets off a gripping cat-and-mouse game that culminates into a nail-biting climax.

The film heavily draws on psychopathology to flesh out its characters. It also extensively uses pharmaceutical science as a potent plot device. Following its release, the movie has received considerable praise from critics, who have noted how similar the plot is to various real-life stories that have made rounds in recent years. In this article, we try to figure out how much Chaganty drew from real life while making ‘Run.’

Is Run Based on a True Story?

No, ‘Run’ is not based on a true story. Chaganty wrote the screenplay for the film with Sev Ohanian. The two previously collaborated on Chaganty’s 2018 directorial debut, ‘Searching.’ The producers initially wanted to release the film on January 24, 2020, but then decided to release it on 2020 Mother’s Day (May 8th). That plan was also scrapped due to the COVID pandemic. Ultimately, Hulu secured the film’s distribution rights in August and began streaming it on November 20, 2020.

Child Abduction

While ‘Run’ is not based on any particular real-life incident, it does depict certain things that have real-life precedence. The film shows that Diane gives birth to the real Chloe prematurely, and the young girl ultimately dies. Grief-stricken, Diane abducts another infant from the hospital, also names her Chloe, and raises her as if she is her own child. In 1998, Kamiyah Mobley, when she was only 8 hours old, was taken from a Florida hospital by Gloria Williams, who got access to the newborn by pretending to be a nurse.

It was later revealed that Williams was being abused by her boyfriend and had suffered a miscarriage shortly before the abduction. She also lost the custody battles of two of her sons. She gave the child a new name, Alexis Manigo, and brought her up. Kamiyah/Alexis’ biological mother, Shanara Mobley, never forgot about her. Kamiyah was eventually found in Walterboro, South Carolina. Williams was arrested and subsequently tried in Florida. She received an 18-year prison sentence. Despite all this, Kamiyah has continued to maintain contact with Williams and still calls her mother.

Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy

In ‘Run,’ Diane displays the telltale signs of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, a condition in which the patients (usually a caregiver) falsely lead their victims to believe that they are suffering from a particular ailment when they aren’t. The story of Dee Dee Blanchard and her daughter Gypsy Rose closely resembles the plot of Chaganty’s movie. Dee Dee claimed that Gypsy had several medical conditions, including leukemia, asthma, muscular dystrophy. She also told the people that because her daughter was born prematurely, her mental capacity did not exceed that of a 7-year-old child.

Dee Dee forced the girl to undergo surgeries and take medicines that she didn’t require. After years of this relentless physical, psychological, and emotional torture, Gypsy planned with her boyfriend, Nicholas Godejohn, to kill her mother. Dee Dee’s body was found was on June 14, 2015. Both Gypsy and Nicholas were arrested. She was then sentenced to ten years in prison, while he received a life sentence. Their story has been adapted several times for the small screen, including the 2019 Hulu series ‘The Act’.

Read More: Where Was Hulu’s Run Filmed?

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