This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
Hulu has released the first images from its upcoming true-crime limited series “The Girl From Plainville” that shows star Elle Fanning completed transformed into Michelle Carter, the woman convicted of involuntary manslaughter for encouraging her teenage boyfriend into killing himself.
The eight-episode show, which is set to premiere sometime this spring, tells the story surrounding Carter’s conviction of involuntary manslaughter in 2017. Her guilty verdict came three years after her boyfriend, then 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, died by suicide after inhaling carbon monoxide inside his pickup truck.
In the first-look picture, Fanning recreates Carter’s stoic courtroom expression as she sits next to her defense attorney Joseph Cataldo, portrayed by Michael Mosley. Fanning’s parted blond hair and intense eyebrows give her an uncanny resemblance to Carter.
The second still shows Fanning looking down while being escorted by officers.
During her trial, prosecutors said that Carter, who was 17 at the time of Roy’s death, had repeatedly encouraged the teenager to kill himself in text messages throughout the day. The prosecution also revealed that Carter, who pleaded not guilty, specifically told Roy to “get back in” his truck when he told her he was having second thoughts before he died.
After the guilty verdict was announced on June 16, 2017, Judge Lawrence Moniz said Carter failed to discourage Roy from entering “a toxic environment inconsistent with human life” and that she did not contact his family when she learned about his suicidal plans.
Despite facing up to 20 years in prison, Carter was later sentenced to 15 months in jail and five years probation. The 23-year-old was released from jail on Jan. 23, 2020, serving less than a year behind bars.
NBC News reported that the conditions of Carter’s release state that she cannot profit from her story.
In an Entertainment Weekly article published on Thursday, the writers, executive producers and co-showrunners behind “The Girl From Plainville,” Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus, spoke about Fanning’s approach to playing Carter.
Macmanus explained that “The Great” star did not want her portrayal to “feel sensational.”
“She wanted it to be an honest portrayal of not just these families and what they went through, but from what people are going through in general on a day-to-day basis when it comes to their mental health,” he said.
Hannah revealed that Fanning only needed a wig, minimal makeup and a small forehead prosthetic to help her mirror Carter’s appearance.
Hannah praised Fanning for studying courtroom tapes and the 2019 HBO documentary “I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter” to also imitate Carter’s physical movements.
“She really threw herself into making sure that the movement and the way she spoke was authentic, as well,” Hannah shared. “So I think that in tandem with the change physically really brings it all together.”
Macmanus and Hannah told Entertainment Weekly that they also consulted the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Eating Disorder Association to ensure their crime drama provided an accurate and informative depiction of mental illness.
Speaking about the potential impact of the limited series, Macmanus said, “At the end of the day, yes, I do want people to be entertained by the story, but more than anything, I hope that it’s the beginning of a conversation — that we help the conversation for everyone who’s affected by mental illness, not just teenagers.”
The Hulu series also stars Chloë Sevigny, Colton Ryan, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox and Norbert Leo Butz.