Dylan Minnette has nothing but admiration for the real-life whistleblower behind his The Dropout character, Tyler Shultz. The actor, who stars opposite Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in the Hulu series following the rise and fall of health start-up Theranos, told PopCulture.com he felt "lucky" not only to be a part of the star-studded cast but also to portray such an "incredible and admirable" person.
Minnette told PopCuture he was ready to "dive head-first" into The Dropout after hearing Liz Meriwether was showrunning an all-star cast, which also includes William H. Macy and Elizabeth Marvel. Playing one of the most prominent whistleblowers in the Theranos case was another draw for the 13 Reasons Why actor.
"It was great because Tyler is such an incredible and admirable guy, and I really applaud his strength and courage to do what he did ... sort of [being] able to continue to put his neck out there for these people who are being affected by Elizabeth and her actions while he was [also] being completely affected by it," Minnette said. "They were trying to intimidate him and scare him out of doing what he was trying to do, and he just stuck with it."
He continued, "I mean, he was going through such a hard time in his life during all this. So I feel very lucky to play someone that really should be called a hero." Preparing for his role as Shultz, Minnette studied the biotech firm co-founder's audiobook about the scandal, Thicker Than Water, studying up on "his perspective of working [at Theranos] and what he was going through mentally."
"That was very helpful, just to hear him speak on scenes and things that we actually portray in the show and just hear his thought process," Minnette explained. "[I was able] to sort of have that at the back of my head when we were shooting the scenes." It's this kind of specificity and intricacy surrounding the people involved in the Holmes story that takes The Dropout to another level.
"I feel like the show is very complex in showing that it wasn't black and white," he told PopCulture, adding, "I think [it's] just showing the sort of relationships between the people and showing these people as human beings – that you can always read what they did wrong, but you can't read about necessarily all the time who they were as people and why they did what they did and things like that..." The Dropout is now streaming on Hulu.