Hulu Develops Limited Series about Elizabeth Holmes as She Awaits Trial

Elizabeth Holmes looking at audience

Krista Kennell / Shutterstock

As Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced founder and former chief executive officer of the now-closed Theranos who is facing up to 20 years in prison for fraud, continues to await her day in court, it seems as though Hollywood can’t get enough of her.

In recent months, Holmes has become the subject of documentaries, books and a planned major motion picture. Now, the black turtleneck-clad entrepreneur will become the subject of a limited series on Hulu starring Kate McKinnon. According to a report in Deadline Hollywood, the streaming service will base its Holmes story on The Dropout, the ABC News podcast about the rise and fall of Holmes and Theranos, the medtech company she founded at the age of 19 after dropping out of Stanford University.

As the Hulu series goes into development, Holmes appeared in court this week to seek a delay in her pending trial. Bloomberg reported that attorneys for Holmes argued they need more time to review nearly one million pages in documents that have been submitted by the prosecution. There is also a concern about securing witnesses for the trial, given that many of the high-profile investors are extraordinarily wealthy and busy and have been “difficult to schedule,” according to the report. A trial date has yet to be scheduled, but according to the report, it could begin in July 2020.

McKinnon, perhaps best known for her work on Saturday Night Live, will both star in and produce the Hulu show, which is expected to be between six and 10 episodes.

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The ABC podcast began in January and documented the rise and fall of Holmes. One episode of the podcast took a deep dive into Holmes’ childhood in Texas. She was described as “disconnected” from the other girls at the private school in Houston where she attended. She was also described as dogged in her determination and did not seem to care what others thought of her.

Another recent documentary about Holmes recently premiered on HBO. That story of Holmes, called “The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley,” is the brainchild of noted documentarian Alex Gibney, who won an Academy Award in 2008 for his documentary “Taxi to the Dark Side.” In March, Gibney said he came to the conclusion that Holmes truly believed she would be able to develop a blood test that could be used to diagnose multiple medical issues from a single drop of blood. People also wanted to believe in her dream, as well as the hype about the Theranos technology, which led to the company securing hundreds of millions of dollars from investors. That hype, of course, turned out to be nothing more than that, and now Holmes, along with former company president Sunny Balwani, is currently awaiting trial for fraud. While Holmes has pled not guilty to the criminal charges, last year after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought charges against the duo, she agreed to pay a $500,000 fine.

Gibney said that Holmes and her team not only defrauded investors but put the lives of people at risk who believed in and used the technology to make medical decisions. In 2016, Theranos voided more than 30,000 blood tests that were administered through its partner Walgreens. That set up multiple lawsuits against the company because many people based medical decisions off of the results of those tests.

Holmes founded Theranos when she was 19 years old. She founded the company with a vision of creating a blood-testing technology that could yield multiple diagnostic results from a single drop of blood. Through her Svengali-like ability to dangle promising technology she could never deliver, Holmes was successful in making Theranos a darling of Silicon Valley. Besides her entrepreneurial vision that made her and her company a darling of Silicon Valley investors, Holmes is known for wearing an all-black ensemble of slacks and a turtleneck, much like the now deceased Apple visionary Steve Jobs, in order to have people focus on her and what she was saying about her product rather than what she was wearing.

In addition to the documentaries and the planned Hulu series, there has also been a feature film in the works starring Jennifer Lawrence. Last year it was reported that the film project snagged screenwriter Vanessa Taylor, who was the screenwriter for the Oscar-winning “Shape of Water,” to pen the story. The film, Bad Blood, which is based off the book written by The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist John Carreyrou, which was published in May 2018.

While she awaits her day in court, Holmes has not remained idle. While Theranos is no more, Holmes’ personal life has been busy. She has reportedly gotten engaged to Billy Evans, the son of hotel magnates, and while reportedly wedding invitations have been sent out, the family of Evans is flabbergasted over the relationship, especially since the honeymoon might have to be delayed due to a potential prison sentence.

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