Hulu took over the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center on Thursday night for the special screening and conversation with the stars and showrunnner of The Girl From Plainview

The limited series is inspired by the true story of Michelle Carter’s unprecedented “Texting-suicide” case in Plainville, Massachusetts. Writer, executive producer, and co-showrunner Liz Hannah tactfully examines the relationship between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy III, including the events that led to his death and Michelle Carter’s subsequent conviction for involuntary manslaughter.

For Hannah, this is her second collaboration with Hulu following The Dropout, another limited series inspired by the true story of disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes. 

“I really resisted doing The Girl From Plainview because of the salacious tabloid headlines,” Liz Hannah shares with Awards Focus.  “Patrick McManus, my co-creator, and Elle Fanning brought me the original Esquire article by Jesse Baron and that’s when things changed,” Hannah says. “I felt like there was something here that was deeper to explore.” 

Hannah had high praise for series star and executive producer Elle Fanning, particularly at the close of the first episode. “The last scene of the pilot has Elle’s character mimicking Lea Michele’s performance of ‘Make You Feel My Love’ from Glee,” Hannah says.  “That was a really difficult undertaking and we filmed it a few different times. The scene really only lives because of Elle’s performance, she took it to another level from the page.”

On the red carpet and attending the post panel conversation with Liz Hannah were Elle Fanning (Michelle Carter), Chloë Sevigny (Lynn Roy), Colton Ryan (Conrad “Coco” Roy III), Cara Buono (Gail Carter), and Kai Lennox (David Carter). 

For Fanning, she had just finished filming Hulu’s hit comedy, The Great, when she raced down to Georgia to start work on The Girl From Plainview. “I only had two weeks between season two of The Great and filming this series,” Fanning says. 

As a producer, Fanning was fully immersed in the material and the outcome of the series. “Being a producer on this comes with a great responsibility, especially given the subject matter,” Fanning shares. “I never wanted to sensationalize it or take it in a direction that wasn’t completely authentic.”  

Actor Colton Ryan, who plays the suicidal Conrad Roy III, was thoroughly impressed with Elle Fanning’s work behind the scenes.  “When she got there from The Great, I’d been on location for two weeks,” Ryan says. “When we read together, she really helped offset the heaviness of it by keeping it lighthearted between those moments… it really put me at ease.”

For Chloë Sevigny, the actress was on familiar terrain as she dove into the emotionally taxing shoot. “I’d shot in Savannah, Georgia twice before this series, so that was comforting to return to as you’re working through such intense material.”

As part of her preparation, Sevigny watched the  I Love You Now Die documentary that covered the horrific and shocking events. “I was really struck by Lynn Roy, how salt of the Earth she was and how she had this spirituality,” Sevigny shares.  “She has been through the worst thing that can happen to you and she has such strength.”

Chloë Sevigny on the carpet for Hulu’s THE GIRL FROM PLAINVIEW at the Television Academy’s Saban Media Center

Veteran actor Kai Lennox plays father of Elle Fanning’s character, and Lennox found an easy way into that role thanks to his real life parenting experience. “I have a sixteen year old daughter who resembles Elle in a lot of ways,” Lennox shares. “I can tell you there’s no greater nightmare than what this family faced, losing a child to suicide.”The Television Academy attendees gave a warm welcome to the cast following the pilot episode screening. The series is up for Emmy consideration in all categories and is available to stream exclusively on Hulu.

About The Author

Founder, Awards Editor

Byron Burton is the Awards Editor and Chief Critic at Awards Focus and a National Arts and Entertainment Journalism Award winning journalist for his work at The Hollywood Reporter.

Byron is a voting member of the Television Academy, Critics Choice Association, Hollywood Creative Alliance, and the Society of Composers & Lyricists (the SCL) for his work on Marvel's X-Men Apocalypse (2016). Working as a journalist and moderator, Byron hosts Emmy and Oscar panels for the major studios, featuring their Below The Line and Above The Line nominees (in partnership with their respective guilds).

Moderating highlights include Ingle Dodd's "Behind the Slate" Screening Series and their "Spotlight Live" event at the American Legion in Hollywood. Byron covered the six person panel for Universal's "NOPE" as well as panels for Hulu's "Pam & Tommy Lee" and "Welcome to Chippendales" and HBO Max's "Barry" and "Euphoria."

For songwriters and composers, Byron is a frequent moderator for panels with the Society of Composers and Lyricists (SCL) as well as The ArcLight's Hitting the High Note Oscar series.

Byron's panels range from FX's Fargo to Netflix's The Crown, The Queen's Gambit, The Witcher & Bridgerton; HBO Max's The Flight Attendant, Hacks, Succession, Insecure, & Lovecraft Country; Amazon Studios' The Legend of Vox Machina, Wild Cat, & Annette; and Apple TV+s Ted Lasso, Bad Sisters, and 5 Days at Memorial.

In February of 2020, Byron organized and hosted the Aiding Australia Initiative; launched to assist in the restoration and rehabilitation of Australia's wildlife (an estimated 3 billion animals killed or maimed and a landmass the size of Syria decimated).

Participating talent for Aiding Australia includes Robert Downey Jr., Michael Keaton, Jeremy Renner, Harrison Ford, Jim Carrey, Josh Brolin, Bryan Cranston, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, JK Simmons, Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, James Franco, Danny Elfman, Tim Burton, Kim Basinger, Robert Wuhl, Tim Allen, Colin Hay, Drew Struzan, and Michael Rosenbaum.

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