The Dropout: the crazy story of Elizabeth Holmes told by Elizabeth Meriwether

the dropout

The New Girl creator gets inside the head of the world’s youngest billionaire in this true-to-life drama about the rise and fall of a successful young woman obsessed with success.

On April 20, on Disney +, you will get to know Elizabeth Holmes! The Dropoutthe platform’s new event series, tells the crazy true story of this “self-made woman” from Silicon Valley, who became the youngest billionaire in the world, thanks to a massive fraud, which fooled the scientific community and many investors.

Performed by Amanda Seyfried, Elizabeth Holmes, nicknamed “the new Steve Jobs” claimed to have created a revolutionary process for performing inexpensive blood tests, with just a few drops of blood, and without needles. His company, Theranos, was valued at over $9 billion…before collapsing when the deception was uncovered.

Oussekine and The Dropout, two series inspired by true stories on Disney +

It is the rise of Elizabeth, that the creator, Elizabeth Meriwetherwanted to tell in The Dropout. The screenwriter to whom we owe New Girl Where Single Parents (also available on Disney +) explains to us that he discovered this scandal by coming across an article from Vanity Fair: “I pulled the thread of the story a bit and was immediately fascinated by this woman. A year later there were already books about her, documentaries. Elizabeth Holmes had even become a costume Halloween popular in the United States (laughs). I wasn’t sure what else we could add, but I listened to Rebecca Jarvis’ podcast, The Dropout, which took things from another angle, trying to figure out what was going through Elizabeth’s head. , who was this woman, what were her motivations… And that’s what drives our series.”

In effect, The Dropout was designed as a pure drama emphasizing the human, the journey of a woman with great ambitions: “I was less in the journalistic investigation, when in the idea of ​​putting myself in his place. Without being too judgmental, but writing him as a complex character. It is this emotional truth of the story that I wanted to portray. And then I recognized myself in her, in many ways. First, because we’re both called Elizabeth (laughs). We are roughly the same age. And above all, I had similar experiences: I was only 29 when I created New Girl. I found myself in a position of power, in a world that was completely unknown to me, without real experience. It’s a bit like what happened to Elizabeth Holmes in Silicon Valley…”

Elizabeth Meriwether admits to us that she unfortunately could not speak directly with Elizabeth Holmes. So to stay as close as possible to the truth of the facts, she has “looked at a lot of material on it. And in particular hours and hours of recordings of his interrogation by the authorities. Hours and hours of the trial too.“But the designer didn’t have in mind to make a documentary fiction. So she explains”put all that aside, to imagine what could have happened. I left the raw facts aside, to better write the fiction. Because The Dropout is not intended to be a compilation of facts related to this case. We are in a drama. It’s really a mix between fiction and reality.”

The Dropout - Amanda Seyfried and Naveen Andrews

Especially when it comes to the amazing romance between young Elizabeth and her partner Sunny Balwani (Naveen Andrews), 18 years her senior! “This is the most improbable aspect of this whole story. A lot of people in the company didn’t know they were together. They met in Beijing when she was just 18 and they had an affair that lasted for years! It’s probably the most romanticized part of the show, because it’s very private stuff. But at the same time, in the middle of filming, text messages that they had exchanged were made public by the courts. And suddenly, it completely upset my way of seeing their couple. Some sequences had to be redesigned. Cut things. Add elements, like this little nickname, “Tiger”, which she gave him and which we did not know before… As a screenwriter, I had my vision of their story, in my head, and it suddenly confronted with the reality of these text messages.”

Somewhere between a romantic drama and an industrial epic, The Dropout thus recounts the complex journey of Elizabeth Holmes, a brilliant scientist and gifted businesswoman, obsessed with success. A true romantic character, who shares “a certain awkwardness“with the other heroines of Liz Meriwetherlike his famous Jessica Day of New Girl : “These are girls who are uncomfortable in society. Great romantics who have this desire to connect with others, but don’t get there easily.”

The Dropoutin 8 episodes, will be on view from April 20 on Disney +.

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