New 'The Dropout' podcast episode features Hulu series creator and star

Amanda Seyfried reflects on her time playing Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.

August 11, 2022, 8:09 AM

ABC News’ critically acclaimed podcast "The Dropout" returns for a special bonus episode featuring a conversation between host Rebecca Jarvis, ABC News’ chief business, technology and economics correspondent; actress Amanda Seyfried, star of Hulu’s Emmy-nominated limited series based on the podcast; and writer Liz Meriwether, the show’s creator and showrunner.

When Seyfried and Meriwether signed on to Hulu’s "The Dropout," they’d spent endless hours consuming all things Elizabeth Holmes. But neither had any idea what was coming next.

"The Dropout" podcast and Hulu drama delve into the story of Holmes, an optimistic and determined young woman who drops out of Stanford to found a promising blood testing startup called Theranos. The podcast and series look to answer the question: How does the woman once heralded as “the next Steve Jobs” find herself facing criminal charges for the technology that was meant to revolutionize health care?

Money. Romance. Tragedy. Deception. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and Theranos is an unbelievable tale of ambition and fame gone terribly wrong. “The Dropout” podcast is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Click here to find the show on your favorite app.

For Seyfried, who plays Holmes in the eight-episode drama streaming on Hulu, the process begins with “open nerves,” she told Jarvis, ABC News' chief business, technology and economics correspondent, in this week’s special episode. “I don’t go anywhere without my insecurities.”

While Seyfried, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role in "Mank," has starred in hits like "Mean Girls," "Mama Mia" and "Les Misérables," becoming Holmes posed a unique challenge.

“If it doesn't scare me, there's really no point,” Seyfried explained. “I choose the things that will be complicated.”

Meriwether - whose past work includes "New Girl" and "No Strings Attached" - felt similarly.

“I know that there's this like mix of fear and excitement and just like a thing that's gnawing at you where you're like, 'I can't get this out of my head.'”

PHOTO: Amanda Seyfried appears in the Hulu show "The Dropout."
Amanda Seyfried appears in the Hulu show "The Dropout."
Beth Dubber/Hulu

Meriwether felt the limited series could take viewers even deeper.

“I [had] only written comedy and I worked on a network sitcom…so I was very intimidated for that reason. And then I listened to the podcast, and I felt like [the podcast] had gotten into [Holmes’] mind.”

It also meant Meriwether had to brush up on her science skills.

“The business side of things, the chemistry, the engineering,” Meriwether recalled, “all of those things felt very intimidating to me because I sort of didn't know where to start with them, but I was so intrigued.”

As if the story itself wasn’t enough of a challenge, there were other obstacles. The COVID pandemic delayed production and Holmes’ own life continued to evolve with her criminal trial unfolding during most of the shooting.

“It's just such a bizarre, bizarre situation,” Seyfried confessed.

PHOTO: In this April 11, 2022, file photo, Amanda Seyfried and Elizabeth Meriwether speak onstage during the panel for the Los Angeles Finale Event for Hulu's "The Dropout" at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles.
In this April 11, 2022, file photo, Amanda Seyfried and Elizabeth Meriwether speak onstage during the panel for the Los Angeles Finale Event for Hulu's "The Dropout" at the Paramount Theatre in Los Angeles.
Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images, FILE

But viewers and critics responded. Hulu’s "The Dropout" is now nominated for six Emmys, including Seyfried for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie and Meriwether for Outstanding Writing.

Looking back, Seyfried - who’s in the process of shooting a new project - says she doubts she’ll ever find something as special as "The Dropout" again.

“I’m not saying it wasn't hard. I'm just saying it's rare and it's never going to happen again.”

Hear more of Jarvis’ conversation with Seyfried and Meriwether in this brand new BONUS episode of "The Dropout" today.

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