TV viewers are obsessed with the idea of a con gone wrong, and one of the biggest is the story of Elizabeth Holmes. The disgraced Theranos founder was once heralded as the fastest rising star in the healthcare industry, earning billions from venture capitalists to grow her company. Now, she’s facing up to 20 years in federal prison for multiple convictions of fraud. Holmes’s story is coming to Hulu soon as part of a miniseries called “The Dropout.”
“Mean Girls” alum Amanda Seyfried is taking on the lead role despite turning down the opportunity at first. The actress spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about why she wasn’t hung up on recreating Holmes’s signature deep voice plus the reason she initially didn’t want to sign up for the project.
Originally, “SNL” actress Kate McKinnon was slated to play Holmes, but she dropped out to join the miniseries “Joe vs Carole.” Seyfried got the offer to replace McKinnon and quickly turned it down.
“Listen, I was having a f***ing moment, OK?” she told THR. “I had COVID. I was isolating in the basement of a gross townhouse in Savannah, Georgia, because my husband was working on a movie there. And now an L.A. shoot? Pass!”
After giving the role some thought and consideration, Seyfried changed her mind and decided to give it a try. However, the actress swears she never tried to completely copy Holmes’s very deep voice.
“I knew my voice was never going to be as deep as hers because I’m physically not capable of it,” Seyfried told the publication. “Besides, I promised I wasn’t going to give myself a hard time and try to completely mimic this other human being. It’d be impossible. And just not fun.”
The subject of Holmes tricking some of the savviest people in business into believing she had a viable product has been explored before. There’s the best-seller “Bad Blood,” the documentary “The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley,” and a popular podcast called “The Dropout,” which serves as a major contributor to the new Hulu miniseries.
Despite learning everything there was to know about Holmes, Seyfried insists that the real person behind the con remains a mystery. “I watched and listened to all of it, but I learned nothing about her,” the actress said. “It’s crazy that she can still be such an enigma with all the information surrounding her.”
Elsewhere in the article, screenwriter Elizabeth Meriwether discussed her hypothesis on how Holmes was able to trick so many people. “You hear a lot of, ‘How did she get all these men on board with the company? They must have been in love with her,’ ” Meriwether said. “That’s too simplistic an answer for why everything happened.”
The miniseries seeks to delve deeper into Holmes’s motivations, not just what she did. “This is not just about showing all the points where this woman made bad choices,” Seyfried explained. “We’re investigating why we love a fall from grace, why we want to watch train wrecks.”
“The Dropout” is just one in a long line of documentaries about Silicon Valley hotshots who ended up being not so hot after all. According to THR, other “upcoming Silicon Valley downfall dramas” include Showtime’s “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber,” Apple TV+’s WeWork expose “WeCrashed” and HBO’s exploration into the Facebook indictment, “Doomsday Machine.”
“The Dropout” premieres March 3 on Hulu.
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