Elle Fanning delved beyond the headlines of a true-crime case for her hotly anticipated return to television this spring.
Hulu this week shared the first photos of “The Girl from Plainville,” which chronicles the 2014 “texting suicide” case involving Conrad Roy, a Massachusetts teen who died after filling the inside of his pickup truck with poisonous fumes.
Fanning stars as Michelle Carter, who was 17 and Roy’s girlfriend at the time of his death. She was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after investigators uncovered text messages in which she encouraged Roy, 18, to take his own life. She was released from prison in 2020 after serving roughly 12 months of a 15-month sentence.
“The Girl from Plainville” is based on journalist Jesse Barron’s 2017 Esquire article of the same name. Roy is portrayed in the eight-episode series by Colton Ryan, while Norbert Leo Butz and Chloë Sevigny play his parents.
Thus far, neither Carter nor the Roy family have commented publicly on the series, due out this spring.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in an interview published Thursday, showrunners Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus said the creative team worked closely with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the National Eating Disorders Association to ensure that the mental health challenges depicted by the characters onscreen felt fair and accurate.
The pair also praised Fanning, who “did not want this to feel sensational,” according to Macmanus. As for the series itself, they said it’s especially timely, given the role technology played in the case.
Added Hannah: “I think with Michelle in particular, there’s also a timeliness to how we look at young women, how we treat young women in the media, how we take the time later to reflect upon whether or not that was fair and whether or not they were depicted accurately instead of analyzing that at the time.”
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also text HOME to 741-741 for free, 24-hour support from the Crisis Text Line. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.