Over the last 15 weeks, Elizabeth Holmes – the founder of health technology Theranos – has been in court charged with 11 counts of fraud. In 2013, the Silicon Valley scammer claimed to have revolutionised blood testing by developing a method that could carry out hundreds of tests using just a single drop of blood. After it was revealed that she’d misled investors, consumers, and the government, she was indicted in 2018 and forced to return $18.9 million shares to the company.
Now, as with any good scam (see: Anna Delvey), her story is being turned into a TV show, starring none other than Mean Girls and Mamma Mia darling, Amanda Seyfried. The Hulu limited series, titled The Dropout, is an adaptation of the ABC News podcast of the same name.
In the first images released from the series, Seyfried is pictured with her blonde hair slicked back, wearing red lipstick, and in Holmes’ trademark black turtleneck (a la Steve Jobs, Holmes’ hero) under a black suit. She’s also seen with Naveen Andrews, who’s playing her ex-boyfriend and former Theranos president Sunny Balwani. During her testimony last week, Holmes acused Balwani, who’s 20 years her senior, of emotionally and physically abusing her during their 13-year relationship.
According to its synopsis, the show “will explore what caused the world’s youngest self-made female billionaire, once heralded as ‘the next Steve Jobs’, to lose everything in the blink of an eye”.
Before her downfall – which began in 2015 after a series of journalistic and regulatory investigations – Holmes had topped Forbes’ 2015 list of America’s richest self-made women, on the basis that Theranos was valued at $9 billion. The following year, Forbes revised its valuation to zero, while Fortune named Holmes in its feature on “The world’s 19 most disappointing leaders”.
Today (December 17), prosecutors will present their closing arguments to the jury, who will deliberate on Holmes’ fate over the weekend. She faces up to 20 years in prison, and has pleaded not guilty.
See Seyfried as Holmes in the first photos from The Dropout, below, and stay tuned for the series, which is set to premiere on Hulu on March 3 next year.
Welcome to Theranos. Amanda Seyfried is Elizabeth Holmes.