The Girl From Plainville Producer Reveals the “Ultimate Goal” of Telling This Complex Story

The Girl From Plainville is a dramatized retelling of the headline-making Michelle Carter case. See the show's producers and star Elle Fanning discuss bringing this complicated story to life.

By Daniel Trainor May 26, 2022 3:00 PMTags
Watch: The Girl From Plainville: Elle Fanning's Unrecognizable Transformation

The story of Michelle Carter is not an easy one.

Michelle, who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 2014 death of her boyfriend Conrad Roy III in what would infamously become known as the "texting suicide case" by the general public, has her story told in the Hulu limited series The Girl From Plainville

The series isn't about vilifying Michelle—who became a lightning rod of controversy after Conrad's death and during the subsequent trial—but rather an attempt to humanize her plight.

"You don't have to have sympathy for her," the series' executive producer Liz Hannah said in an exclusive featurette. "You don't have to excuse her behavior or understand it, but putting yourself in her shoes for a minute and being able to imagine yourself going through the things that she went through, that was our ultimate goal."

Elle Fanning, who spent two hours in the hair and make-up chair every day to transform into Michelle for the series, felt similarly about handling Michelle's story with grace.

"There is a lot in the media about her and a lot written about her," Elle said. "I think playing someone who could ultimately watch the show, you have to bring a great sensitivity to the project."

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Furthermore, Elle argued that the key to unlocking Michelle—who was released from prison in January 2020—came from accessing her humanity.

"With any character you play, you have to understand them," the actress said. "For me, I had to try and wrap my brain around how someone could bring themselves to that place and the pain that someone must be feeling."

Elle's performance really came to life during the show's courtroom scenes, when she donned exact replicas of the clothes Michelle wore during her trial. Executive producer Patrick Macmanus called the transformation "unsettling at best, terrifying at worst."

Steve Dietl/Hulu

Liz agreed that the trial scenes were integral to not only the overall arc of the series, but the goals of the creators themselves. 

"It was a really important part of the show," she said. "Watching that transformation was very enlightening to what Michelle was going through at the time and added another layer to this character that we really wanted everyone to have empathy for."

All episodes of The Girl From Plainville are available to stream on Hulu.

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