Kate McKinnon will play disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes for Hulu

Kate McKinnon is best known for her all-star performances on Saturday Night Live as well as turns in comedies like Ghostbusters, Rough Night, and The Spy Who Dumped Me, but there’s nothing funny about her next role. The comedian will play former Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, who was indicted by a federal grand jury for fraud in 2018, in a limited series for Hulu, Deadline reports.

The Dropout, which is based on the podcast of the same name, will chronicle Holmes’ transformation from a 19-year-old science prodigy to the CEO of her own health technology company, as well as her fall from grace when journalists and regulators began to question Theranos’ legitimacy. McKinnon will co-produce the series alongside ABC News’ Rebecca Jarvis, who created The Dropout, and producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson. The series is expected to run for six to 10 episodes.

Holmes dropped out of Stanford in 2004 and used her tuition money to found Theranos, which promised to revolutionize blood testing technology. By 2014, Holmes had raised more than $400 million in venture capital funding, and Theranos, which had signed a lucrative deal with Walgreens, was valued at $9 billion.

Things quickly unraveled in 2015, however, when the Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that Theranos’ signature blood-testing device, which could allegedly derive low-cost blood tests from small drops of blood, wasn’t as reliable as the company claimed.

Meanwhile, Holmes’ personal behavior, which she modeled after her idol Steve Jobs, grew increasingly bizarre. Eventually, federal investigators got involved, the Walgreens deal fell apart, and Theranos ultimately folded. Holmes now faces up to 20 years in prison for defrauding investors and providing inaccurate medical results. Holmes pled innocent, and the trial is still ongoing.

The Theranos saga is an interesting story, which is probably why Hollywood seems so eager to adapt it. In addition to the upcoming McKinnon series, The Dropout was reimagined as a two-hour documentary that aired on 20/20 in March, while Jennifer Lawrence and Vice director Adam McKay are collaborating on a big-screen retelling of Holmes’ story with the title Bad Blood. And if those are hits? Well, there are plenty of other Silicon Valley horror stories for Hollywood to choose from.


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