When Hulu announced that they were making a television adaptation of The Dropout podcast, listeners heaved an audible sigh.
At the time, it seemed that news articles, podcast episodes and the criminal trial offered people everything they needed to know about Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes and her lover, Sunny Balwani. So what more could a TV show offer?
Well, as it turns out, there was a lot we were missing out on.
Show writer Liz Meriwether's depiction of this true tale is a strikingly captivating look at the Theranos scandal. The Dropout offers a greater understanding of the emotions people were feeling as Elizabeth sought to revolutionize the healthcare industry.
More importantly, the series offers insight into Elizabeth's relationship with Sunny, a romance that is often misunderstood and criticized. Amanda Seyfried shared that even she couldn't appreciate the couple's deep connection until she stepped into Elizabeth's shoes. "It was so necessary to show how that began, because people didn't get it," she said in an interview with E! News, adding that people questioned, "'Why would you be with him? What does he have? What business does he have being with her?'"
To Amanda, the answer is quite simple. As she said, "They felt very safe with each other."
"It doesn't make sense from the distance that we're all seeing it as audience members of the documentary, of the podcast, of the book," she continued. "When you watch it from The Dropout's perspective, it makes so much more sense. We're giving a lot of clarity and a lot of context to something that was very, very, very real."
In a separate interview with E! News' The Rundown, Amanda added even podcast listeners and reporters "don't know anything" about Elizabeth as a person, so "there was some judgement," making this portrayal all the more important.
Naveen Andrews, who plays Sunny, said that it was important to portray this side of their relationship because "they were bound together" in their ideas and actions, thus setting off the chain of events that found the pair arrested. When discussing their friendship and how it turned romantic, he said, "It was exhilarating exploring how that could come about."
The scenes in which Elizabeth and Sunny meet are cute in their own way, as it's the first time the Theranos founder seems to meet someone who truly understands her. They speak Mandarin and explore Tokyo together, totally unaware of how their love story will end.
But filming those moments didn't always feel romantic. Amanda shared that those were the first scenes she and Naveen filmed together, remembering, "Oh my god, the first day we had to like make out and then in the next couple days, the set almost burnt down."
The actress joked that the near disaster was symbolic of the Theranos scandal, remarking, "That's Elizabeth and Sunny!"
The Dropout premieres on Hulu Thursday, Mar. 3.