Amanda Seyfried Channels Elizabeth Holmes in ‘Dropout’ Trailer
A tech scandal for the ages. The implosion of Theranos was already the focus of a book, a podcast and a documentary before it provided the inspiration for a scripted series starring Amanda Seyfried.
The Oscar nominee will play Elizabeth Holmes, the woman who founded the now-defunct health startup. The Washington, D.C., native dropped out of Stanford University’s School of Engineering to work full-time on her healthcare-focused tech company, Theranos.
The corporation’s value soared after Holmes claimed to have developed a rapid blood test that only required a very small sample. In 2015, however, investigations began to reveal that the company’s so-called Edison blood testing device produced faulty results. John Carreyrou, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, discovered that Theranos had been using devices made by other manufacturers for their tests.
In March 2018, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Holmes, along with her business partner and ex-boyfriend, Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani, with an “elaborate, years-long fraud” in which they allegedly attempted to deceive investors into believing their “key product — a portable blood analyzer — could conduct comprehensive blood tests from finger drops of blood.”
At the time of the charges, Holmes agreed to pay a $500,000 fine and submit to a 10-year ban on serving as an officer or director of a public company, but she didn’t admit to or deny the accusations. Both she and Balwani have pleaded not guilty to the charges against them. As of December 2021, the trial, which began four months prior, is still ongoing.
Public interest in the case increased in 2018 after Carreyrou published a best-selling book about Theranos titled Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. The following year, ABC released “The Dropout,” the podcast that serves as the basis for the upcoming Hulu series, and HBO debuted the documentary The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley.
While the business aspects of the case were fascinating, many listeners and viewers were more captivated by Holmes and her notable quirks. The entrepreneur had a habit of wearing black turtlenecks, which she claimed was something she’d been doing since childhood. A former employee, however, suggested Holmes chose the look in homage to one of her idols, the late Steve Jobs.
Holmes’ voice has also been a source of intrigue, with an ex-colleague claiming that she intentionally deepened her speaking voice as an attempt to sound more authoritative. Members of her family, meanwhile, have denied that claim.
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