In 2014, the county of Fairhaven, Massachusetts was shocked to hear about the death of an 18-year-old boy who committed suicide. As the reasons why started to mount up, an even more shocking slate of news and an infamous trial proposed a serious question: can someone be prompted to end their life through text messages? This is what Hulu’s limited series The Girl From Plainville is set to discuss. The true-crime story follows Michelle Carter (played by Elle Fanning), who was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for sending messages that led Conrad Roy III to kill himself.
Fanning, who also stars in The Great, another Hulu series, is set to executive produce the eight-episode limited series in addition to starring it. The first-look images revealed by Hulu show Fanning in character as Michelle Carter, who looks like someone with deep regrets in way over her head on trial and being followed by the media while escorted by the police. Surprisingly similar to Carter, Fanning reportedly only needed light makeup and a small prosthetic to look more like her real-life counterpart. The images also show Michael Mosley (Ozark, The Sinner), who plays Carter’s attorney Joseph Cataldo.
Fully told in an Esquire article by Jesse Barron, the story revealed an unprecedented case that showcases how the judicial system is trying to catch up with modern times, in which social media and texting non-stop play a huge role in affecting our mental health. Carter reportedly encouraged Conrad to commit suicide multiple times until the very end of his life.
In an interview with EW, co-showrunners Liz Hannah (Steven Spielberg’s The Post) and Patrick Macmanus (Apple TV+’s Dr. Death) revealed that mental health was a big talking point in the writers’ room and that they don’t want The Girl From Plainville to come off as sensationalism:
“We wanted to show that dealing with mental health, being depressed, having issues with anxiety — it doesn’t look the same for everybody, and it doesn’t look the same every day for everybody,” Hannah explains. “There’s a lot of variables and variations in that for our characters, and not just Michelle and Conrad, but for the parents, for their friends, that felt like we could tell a story that was a little more well-rounded of a conversation of mental health as a whole, rather than saying that everybody deals with this specific issue or everybody presents this specific issue this way.”
Aside from Fanning and Mosley, The Girl From Plainville’s cast also features Chloë Sevigny, Colton Ryan, Cara Buono, Kai Lennox, and Norbert Leo Butz.
Hulu is set to premiere The Girl From Plainville this spring, but no specific date has been revealed by the streamer as of this reporting. You can check out the official synopsis below:
“The Girl From Plainville” is inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter’s unprecedented “texting-suicide” case. Based on the Esquire article of the same name by Jesse Barron, the limited series explores Carter’s relationship with Conrad Roy III and the events that led to his death and, later, her conviction of involuntary manslaughter.