Elle Fanning Reveals How Michelle Carter's Texts Influenced The Girl From Plainville Portrayal

Elle Fanning, who stars as Michelle Carter in Hulu's The Girl From Plainville shared that she had access to the text messages Carter and Conrad Roy III's exchanged ahead of his 2015 death.

By Jillian Fabiano Mar 29, 2022 6:33 PMTags
Watch: Elle Fanning To Play Michelle Carter in New Hulu Series

Elle Fanning had access to all of those text messages. 

And according to the 23-year-old actress, they were "haunting and difficult to get through." But how did they affect her portrayal of Michelle Carter in Hulu's The Girl From Plainville?

"They were helpful in getting to know their relationship," Fanning told Entertainment Weekly of Carter and boyfriend Conrad Roy III, who died by suicide in 2015 after receiving a series of messages from Carter that encouraged him to take his own life. "At least the relationship that they had over text."

The Girl From Plainville is inspired by the true story of Carter's unprecedented "texting-suicide" case and is based on the Esquire article of the same name by Jesse Barron. The series explores Carter's relationship with Roy, the events that led to his death and her conviction of involuntary manslaughter.

But although Fanning, and her co-star Colton Ryan who stars as Roy, had access to the messages and court tapings on YouTube, she explained that they didn't give them "all the answers, necessarily."

"Our show spans seven years," she added. "So there's a whole portion that we kind of had to create, and a whole side of Michelle that wasn't on our TV screens, or it wasn't something that we saw, so we had to understand her in a different way."

2022 TV Transformations

Fanning shared that tackling the role with the right sensitivity was "a real top priority" for her, noting that the show was "done with care" given the circumstances of the tragedy and the surrounding legal case.

"Not that I had reservations on signing on, but it wasn't an automatic yes because I had to really think about the story that we were telling," she said." It ultimately ends in such a tragedy, and these [families] are still alive, and we have to be sensitive to them."

"It had to be told in the right way that could actually be helpful," Fanning continued, "and possibly help someone out there who's suffering, while not trying to sensationalize suicide, like a lot of shows do."

Steve Dietl/Hulu

The first three episodes of The Girl From Plainville are now available on Hulu, with additional episodes dropping weekly.

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