Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus, who made the Hulu limited series The Girl From Plainville, which starts on March 29 and is based on the true story of Michelle Carter’s “texting suicide,” knew they had to be careful with the story.
Macmanus, who also made the Peacock series Dr. Death, tells TIME, “One mistake could do some real damage in the long run.” “It was our job to keep this story as true as possible and not make it sound like a big deal.”
The series is based on Jesse Barron’s 2017 Esquire article of the same name. It looks at the case of Carter, who was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 for the death of her boyfriend, Conrad “Coco” Roy III, because of text messages that seemed to encourage the teen to kill himself, according to prosecutors.
Carter said in texts that she was talking to him on the phone right before he died and could have stopped him. Instead, she told him to “get back in” his truck as the exhaust fumes filled it. (In 2020, she got out of jail after serving 12 months of a 15-month sentence.)
Hannah, a writer for Hulu’s The Dropout, said that she had “a very preconceived idea and bias toward” Carter, who had been “portrayed as a black widow and a villain” by the press when she first heard about the story made headlines.
She said, “I quickly saw how wrong I was, at least about what I thought I knew about Michelle.” “It seemed like a chance to show people what I had learned, which was that she was a three-dimensional person and that there was more to this story.”
I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth vs. Michelle Carter, a two-part documentary by Erin Lee Carr, was shown on HBO in 2019.
It was about Carter and Roy’s complicated relationship and the court case that came after Roy’s death. Carr and Barron were helping the producers of the Hulu show with their ideas.
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The adaptation, which was made into an eight-episode series starring The Great’s Elle Fanning, gave Hannah and Macmanus a chance to learn more about Carter than what was shown in a well-known court case.
“Instead of judging her for being unclear and acting like she was putting on a show, as the media did, I thought she was this very lonely girl,” Hannah said. “Her constant feeling of being alone gave the character a place to start.”
What is the True Story Behind the Girl From Plainville?
The “texting suicide” case was the first time a person was tried for manslaughter through a text message. It was a landmark case.
Esquire says that 317 pages of messages between Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy were given to the judge. This person talked about suicide a lot, but Carter didn’t try to talk her then-boyfriend out of it.
This person talked about suicide a lot, but Carter didn’t try to talk her then-boyfriend out of it. In one message, she said, “If you don’t do it now, you’ll never do it” (via CNN).
On the evening of July 12, 2014, Conrad Roy talked to Carter on the phone twice. This was just a few hours before he died.
Detectives didn’t know what was said on the phone calls, but they found a text message Carter sent to a friend in which she seemed to admit that she had told Conrad Roy to get back in his truck.
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The text said, “I could have stopped him.” “I was talking to him on the phone when he got out of the car because it was running. He was scared, so I told him to get back in. I could have stopped him, but I didn’t give a f**k.