Honestly, it was great to be able to do something that isn’t comedy. But coming from comedy, I was very interested in the absurdities of the world. Because as I learned more about Silicon Valley and how everything works, it can be an absurd place. And the performance aspect of her character – the turtleneck and the voice – as someone who has been in rooms with all the men and didn’t know what to do with my hands or my face, I understood that.
You have long been interested in messy, charismatic women. Under the turtleneck, maybe she’s another one.
MERIWETHER There are many layers and facets and history. I felt like people’s understanding of who she was was limited to the deep voice and the turtleneck. I was interested in going deeper, and I felt that Rebecca’s podcast was created with the mind of finding out what motivated her. It was a very difficult tone to figure out. Unlike other stories of failed start-ups, the stakes were so high. This was people’s health. This was their blood in a very original way.
Amanda, why did the series interest you?
SEYFRIED I was very curious about Elizabeth Holmes. I had thrown everything at her on my own. I just knew this was something that I could live with for a long time and discover for myself as an actor in a whole new way, someone who is here with us and living her life. It felt like going to college, this job.
MERIWETHER It was so much research!
SEYFRIED I mean, I bought a book on microfluidics. I sat and I watched and listened to those deposition tapes [related to a 2018 Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit against Holmes, Balwani and Theranos]† I listened to ‘The Dropout’ again. I listened to [an audiobook version of] “Bad blood.” I just didn’t stop, and it never got old. I felt like I was taking her in.
At some point you had to decide what motivated her. What was it?
SEYFRIED Believe. Our imaginations are wild when we exercise them. I chose, like this character, to believe in everything. And when I was told something wasn’t true, I doubled down.