Amanda Seyfried is earning Emmy buzz for her uncanny performance as Theranos founder and convicted fraud Elizabeth Holmes in Hulu's The Dropout. However, Seyfried has never met the real-life version of her character.
In a sit-down with Jared Leto for Variety's Actors on Actors series, the Oscar and Golden Globe-nominated actress revealed she has not spoken to Holmes. "We weren't allowed to," Seyfried said. "She was in litigation, and Disney was very clear about what we could and could not put in the show."
Seyfried explained that she "wasn't privy to any of that" information, as she was a "last minute" addition to the cast. SNL star Kate McKinnon was originally set to play Holmes before dropping out due to a scheduling conflict.
As Seyfried tells it, the restrictions went both ways: the actress said Holmes was "told not to watch" the Hulu series about her life. "But I cannot imagine a world where she didn’t peek," she added.
When Leto asked what she would say if she got the chance to meet Holmes, Seyfried replied, "'Hi. Wow. Hello...' I don’t know. I would want to spend some time with her, and know that I probably shouldn't, because I have in some way affected her legal experience."
Holmes, who was convicted of four counts of fraud-related charges related to the fall of Theranos, will be sentenced on September 26, 2022. "Right now, Sunny Balwani is in court," Seyfried told Leto. "And her sentencing may or may not depend on Sunny’s sentencing. And so, it’s really messy."
Seyfried went on to say although she approached playing Holmes "from a place of compassion and worthiness," she has "thought a lot" about Holmes' upcoming sentencing. "I know whatever she’s sentenced with, it’s what she deserves," she said.
"And I also know, in my gut, that there's a space for her outside of this whole Theranos thing, outside of prison — if she goes to prison. Then she'll get out and she'll invent something new that'll work. I don't know if I'm the only person who feels that way," Seyfried continued. "I'd love to see her take responsibility in a very vocal way, which she has not. If she can just take accountability and move on. Yeah, she lied a lot. She’s a mother. She has her whole life ahead of her. She’s my age. I like to think I’m still young."
The Dropout is streaming on Hulu.
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Kirstie Renae is a writer, blogger, and Austin-based actress with a penchant for binge-watching TV with her dogs. Follow her on Twitter @KirstieRenae.