Fiction has an integral part in the TV shows we see today, but there are several series, like The Dropout, that focuses on bringing realism onto the screen.
The Dropout is a Hulu series based on the life of Elizabeth Holmes, a notorious public figure who is famous for the quick rise of her health-tech company, Theranos, and its similarly quick fall.
The series shows her journey as she decides to drop out of Stanford's School of Engineering and decides to find a blood testing process that would only require a drop's worth of blood to test for diseases or deficiencies. Elizabeth was soon named the youngest and the wealthiest self-made billionaire by Forbes back in 2015.
However, her startup faced immense criticism as people questioned the rightfulness of techniques and if the methodology she used was authentic. The accusations against her company piled up, forcing her stocks to take a bad blow and crushed her empire.
Elizabeth Holmes and Sunny Balwani, the Theranos COO, admitted to multiple frauds in 2018. The entrepreneur will hear her sentencing in September this year.
Hence, Elizabeth's story will be portrayed by Amanda Seyfried as The Dropout goes through her roaring success and eventual downfall. The story is based on the ABC podcast featuring the same name as the series by Rebecca Jarvis. Jarvis is now the executive producer on The Dropout, along with Elizabeth Meriweather from New Girl.
The series will star Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani, Holmes's professional partner who also held a romantic interest for her. Other cast members of the series include William H. Macy, Laurie Metcalf, Elizabeth Marvel, Stephen Fry, Dylan Minnette, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Kate Burton, Alan Ruck, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Camryn Mi-Young Kim, Sam Waterston, Kurtwood Smith, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and many more.
The director and the executive producer of the series, Michael Showalter, recently had a talk with Collider, where he explained what it was like to shoot The Dropout. He also shared how Seyfried was cast in the lead role and much more.
He states that The Dropout is a unique real story, based on real people and events, and is subject to Holmes's very ambitious plans. Showalter admitted that he was one of the people who was fascinated by Holmes when she began her journey with revolutionary blood testing ideas and that he had been keeping tags on her ever since the first time he saw her on her New York Time Magazine Cover.
He Googled her and did some research on YouTube, wanting to know the most about her. With the passing years, he saw her story "unfold" as she rose to power, and then her frauds became public.
He also showed interest in the documentary on her, along with the podcast and the book that followed. So when he realized that there was a potential project on the life of Elizabeth Holmes, he knew that he had to take it.
He was already an admirer of Liz Merimether's work and Searchlight Studio. So, when he got the chance to direct the series, he grabbed it with both hands.
The director continued to appreciate the lead actress, Amanda Seyfried, who drives the story. Showalter said that he was "surprised" by how "immersed" Seyfried was into the story. In fact, she completely molded herself after the young billionaire, adopting her mannerisms and her body language.
The director added that the series helps peel back a layer and lets the audience see the real Elizabeth Holmes as she was behind the curtains when no one was seeing, "dancing or dreaming" in her world. He stated that Amanda Seyfried really helped bring that into light, and it was where she employed her talent to the deepest.
Amanda Seyfried does a great job at portraying the ambitions of the young woman that Holmes is. Elizabeth Holmes was an entirely different person from the one she slowly transitioned into as her fame and success multiplied in her better days.
The show also focused on highlighting Holmes' trauma and yet managed to stay true to portray that she still did commit crimes. The series portrays Elizabeth in an amiable light as the show first begins and deserves sympathy.
Yet, even as the audience understands her need for dire actions and why she did what she did, there is only so much that can undergo redemption in her. She has reasons for her problematic behavior, but it is problematic, nonetheless.
In the end, she can not be excused for the decisions she makes. She starts spiraling towards a path where she seems more "reckless" and "cruel" than ever. While the audience does feel for her, it is not as strong as before.
The Dropout has already premiered its first three episodes as of March 3 on Hulu. New episodes of the series will be released on a weekly basis after the initial premiere.