Jennifer Lawrence-led Theranos Movie Biopic Snags ‘Shape of Water’ Writer


As the end looms near for the embattled Theranos and founder Elizabeth Holmes, there has been new movement with the addition of a noted screenwriter for the planned film about the rise and fall of the beleaguered medtech company.

Vanessa Taylor, who was the screenwriter for the Oscar-winning “Shape of Water” as well as two seasons of “Game of Thrones,” will be writing the script for the Theranos story, “Bad Blood.” Deadline Hollywood reported she will be working with director Adam McKay, best known for his “The Big Short” script, which won the Oscar for the best-adapted screenplay in 2016. McKay had been set to write the script for “Bad Blood,” which is based off the book written by The Wall Street Journal’s Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist John Carreyrou, but has become too busy due to other project commitments, The Silicon Valley Business Journal reported. Carrreyrou’s book will be available this month.

While the film’s writer has changed, the project still includes Hollywood star Jennifer Lawrence in the role of Theranos founder Holmes, who at one time was the youngest female billionaire in the United States. Her net value is significantly lower now given the dire straits of her company. In Hollywood, the Theranos story has been a hot commodity. The SVBJ reported that nine production companies had been bidding on the project, with Legendary Entertainment finally winning out.

Although it is not known when production on the film will begin, the true story of Theranos will likely have played out. The company that was once worth an estimated $9 billion may not survive through the July 4 holiday. The company is nearly out of money and has been unable to field any of its vaunted medical testing devices, including the latest portable lab idea.

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 2015 though, the proverbial wheels came off the company after the Wall Street Journal’s Carreyrou began investigating the secretive company and its technological claims. Scandals followed involving inaccurate blood test data that patients used to manage their healthcare and then, of course, Holmes recently paid a $500,000 fine for fraud. Theranos is now on the verge of shutting down. Reports in April refer to an email Holmes sent to investors suggesting that the company could shut down and liquidated by June or July if she is unable to secure any additional funding. In early April, about nine days before Holmes sent the note to her investors, Theranos laid off an additional 100 employees as it sought to prevent bankruptcy. At that time the Holmes made an appeal to investors for additional financial support in order to hold off the possibility of shutting down.

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