Does ‘The Dropout’ really tell us what happened to Elizabeth Holmes?
The story of a fallen billionaire who didn’t know when to call it quits is making its way to Hulu. The upcoming miniseries The Dropout will follow the false ups and devastating downs of Elizabeth Holmes’s life & career. Despite inevitable dramatizations, will the new series reveal what’s actually happened to the disgraced CEO of Theranos?
The Dropout stars Amanda Seyfried as the infamous Elizabeth Holmes. Before Seyfried was officially cast, Saturday Night Live comedian & actress Kate McKinnon was set to play the convicted entrepreneur. What was once thought to be a humorous satire has now become a full-fledged drama series. Check out the latest trailer for The Dropout and see if the new series will really unveil what happened to Elizabeth Holmes.
The true story of Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes, who founded Theranos when she was only nineteen, had quickly risen in the biotech world in Silicon Valley. Theranos had swiftly accumulated various investors with a supposed plan to create a machine called the Edison that could test for diseases such as cancer with only a few drops of blood.
Sounds too good to be true? Well, that’s because it is. No matter how hard Holmes and her employees tried to create this miraculous machine, it never truly came to be. Problem is, Holmes had already accepted $945 million from investors.
After becoming an applauded billionaire and being featured in countless publications such as Forbes & Times, Holmes soon found that Theranos would fall apart. In 2015, the Wall Street Journal exposed the company for only performing less than a dozen of tests on the Edison, when it in fact was said to be able to perform hundreds of varying tests.
Not only that, but these tests were revealing disappointing results with doubtful accuracy. To keep antsy investors at bay, Holmes had decided to utilize third-party manufactured devices from traditional blood testing companies.
The trial and conviction of Holmes
Prosecutors insisted that Holmes deliberately lied about technology she said could detect illnesses with a few drops of blood. After four months at trial facing two starkly different accounts of the former CEO, the jury deliberated for seven days before the judge approved a partial verdict as the jurors were unable to reach an agreement.
While the prosecution was portraying Holmes as a negligent CEO only searching for investments, the defense painted a picture of a young and determined entrepreneur who truly believed she could create technology to better the world. Not only that, but Holmes’s defense also blamed her former Theranos partner & boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani for emotional and sexual abuse that caused the faults in Theranos.
Holmes faced eleven charges in total and was found not guilty of four charges relating to defrauding the public. However, she has been found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud against investors and three charges of wire fraud. Although she has denied the charges, each one carries a maximum prison term of twenty years each.
The Dropout and capturing Holme’s faux deep voice
The Dropout showrunner Elizabeth Meriwether (New Girl) said during a panel that she was “really blown away” by Seyfried’s version of Holmes’ voice and her performance in one installment of the eight-episode show that’s devoted to how Holmes’ voice deepened over time.
“I didn’t want it to be at all a sketch or a satire,” Meriwether told Variety. “And so what was incredible, what Amanda did was that she kept herself and she kept the emotional reality going while transforming into this character, that I think just made it feel real.”
She continued, “You never get taken out of the story, which I was sort of worried that — there’s so much emphasis on her voice in the public imagination, I was worried that that was going to take the audience out of the story.”
With the latest trailer, it seems that The Dropout will tell the faulty journey of Elizabeth Holmes which was covered up by turtlenecks, voice alteration, and wishful thinking. Can the series really tell us what’s happened to Holmes? Well, we’ll just have to find out by tuning in to the series premiere on Hulu on March 3rd.