- Learning to mimic Elizabeth Holmes’ deep voice was a challenge for actress Amanda Seyfried.
- She told the LA Times she worried about causing permanent damage to her vocal cords.
- Seyfried stars in Theranos miniseries “The Dropout” airing on Hulu.
Disgraced Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes is famous for her deep voice, and learning to mimic it sounds like it wasn’t an easy task.
Actress Amanda Seyfried, who plays Holmes in the new Hulu miniseries “The Dropout,” described the process of learning how to talk like Holmes in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times. Seyfried only had three months to get into character after the series’ original lead, “Saturday Night Live” star Kate McKinnon, backed out.
But dropping her voice several octaves was challenging and Seyfried, who is also a singer, worried about doing permanent damage to her vocal cords.
“I would be talking like Elizabeth and [my throat would] get a little sore,” Seyfried told the LA Times. “And I’d be like: this can’t happen. Like, this is freaking me out. Am I going to be able to do this for weeks?”
Seyfried said asked her vocal coach for advice on how to protect her voice early on in the process of creating her version of Holmes, which she cautioned is “not a clone” but a form of the character that Seyfried could sustain over the entire shoot.
She told the LA Times that she’s a natural mimic, and getting into character involved watching Holmes’ deposition on a loop and studying how she spoke. She would then send friends videos of voice memos in character as Holmes giving a TED talk or pitching investors.
“People are always talking about the voice. It’s the first thing people mentioned. Second is the turtleneck; third is the non-blinking. But the voice is number one. The voice is the foundation. If you don’t, it’s like you’re missing the whole thing.”
Former Theranos employees have claimed that Holmes’ signature deep voice was fake, and that she taught herself to speak at a lower register to be taken more seriously in the male-dominated world of Silicon Valley. Holmes’ family has denied that she intentionally altered her voice.
The new Hulu series is one of two highly anticipated Theranos projects — the other is a film starring actress Jennifer Lawrence. “The Dropout” chronicles Holmes’ rise and fall, beginning with her dropping out of Stanford University to launch blood-testing startup Theranos. Holmes became a Silicon Valley darling, raising nearly $1 billion to fund technology she claimed would revolutionize medicine: Theranos’ blood-testing device, she claimed, only required a finger pinprick and small amount of blood to test for a variety of medical conditions.
When Holmes’ claims turned out to be false, she was charged with and later convicted of fraud. She currently awaits sentencing.
“The Dropout” began airing on Hulu on March 3 — there are currently four episodes available to stream.