When the story of Michelle Carter’s 2014 texting suicide case hit the came into the national spotlight, nearly every aspect of her personal life came under a microscope – including her fascination with the Fox hit musical series Glee.
For The Girl From Plainville, Hulu’s dramatic treatment of the suicide case, getting the rights to feature Glee was “vital” to digging deeper into Michelle Carter’s personality and the chain of events that ultimately led to the death of Conrad Roy, the series’ executive producers said during a TCA panel on Tuesday.
“So much of the show is about loneliness and isolation and for every character involved…something that Glee did that I think was so interesting was make people who were lonely feel included. That was really bittersweet to explore for Michelle’s character – this idea of inclusion through this show when she couldn’t do it in real life,” said executive producer and writer Liz Hannah. “We have to thank Hulu again, it was really amazing to be able to allow us to use Glee as a tool to explore that.”
Set to debut March 29, The Girl From Plainville is inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter’s controversial “texting-suicide” case. Based off the Esquire article of the same name by Jesse Barron, the limited series will explore Carter’s (Elle Fanning) relationship with Conrad Roy III (Colton Ryan) and the events that led to his death and, later, her controversial conviction of involuntary manslaughter.
Fanning, who stars and executive produces alongside Hannah and Patrick MacManus, expanded on Glee‘s impact on her character why scenes containing the Fox series “summarizes so much” about Carter and that generation of consumers.
“I think the reason why she, and probably so many of us young people loved Glee or Fault In Our Stars – the YA world – is because you can be the star of that show. You can put yourself in that fantasy, it’s such an escape for people who feel alone,” she said, also noting bigger themes of “false reality” and idolization. “Glee throughout is so essential. Reading through Michelle’s text throughout, she was a Gleek.”
Beyond just tapping into Carter’s love for Glee to dramatize the news story, the EPs referred to a number of sources ranging from Baron’s eponymous Esquire feature, the actual court documents and the real-life people involved in the tragedy. MacManus revealed that the creatives consulted with Roy’s mother Lynn Roy, who will be portrayed by Chloë Sevigny. The EPs, however, did not connect with the Carter family as they tend to avoid the media, MacManus said.
During the panel the EPs, who were also joined by Sevigny and Ryan, spoke about how they approached the cast, starting production with Fanning two weeks after she finished The Great Season 2 and more.
The Girl From Plainville also features Kai Lennox, Cara Buono, Norber Leo Butz and more. Hannah and MacManus serve as co-showrunners. The executive produce alongside Fanning and Echo Lake’s Brittany Kahan Ward. Consulting producers include Barron and Erin Lee Carr. Kelly Funke will oversee for Macmanus’ Littleton Road Productions. The series hails from UCP, a division of Universal Studio Group.
Emmy-winning screenwriter and director Lisa Cholodenko, Zetna Fuentes, Pippa Bianco, David Boyd, Daniel Minahan and Hannah will direct.
Watch a teaser for the series above.
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