'The Dropout': William H. Macy Sees Elizabeth Holmes' Rise and Fall as a 'Greek Tragedy' (Exclusive)

Hulu's new true-crime drama The Dropout takes viewers back to the beginning of what would eventually be the downfall of Elizabeth Holmes, asking the question of where the Theranos founder went wrong. For William H. Macy, who plays Richard Fuisz in the limited series, the tale is something of a "Greek tragedy," which he shared in an exclusive interview with PopCulture.com ahead of The Dropout's March 3 premiere. 

"It's a Greek tragedy. It was writ large," he explained, noting that what initially caught him about the story is that "at the beginning, [Holmes] didn't do anything wrong." The Oscar-nominated actor continued, "She had an idea, she asked for investors – which is the way it works in this country – and the money started rolling in. But when she and her engineers could not come up with the goods for this box that would do all these tests, she went to the dark side."

"She couldn't say no, she couldn't back away from this thing," he pondered. "It is Greek, isn't it?" Macy's character plays right into that tragedy, as a "very simple slight" from Holmes would lead to Fuisz later exposing Theranos' fraudulent claimes. A former neighbor of Holmes, Fuisz "never forgave" the young entrepreneur when she failed to come to him for advice early on in Theranos' trajectory, despite his expertise in medical devices. 

"I think it's that, and also he's an immigrant. He fought his way to the top in America and to see this perfect, blonde, thin genius woman, it kind of pissed him off that she even existed," Macy reasoned. "So he was determined to bring her down, he smelled a rat, and he was determined to expose her."

The Dropout's creator, Liz Meriwether, wanted to really encapsulate Holmes' whole story with Theranos, even the less-reported aspects, like her relationship with Sunny Balwani, the former president and COO of Theranos. Casting Amanda Seyfried as the ambitious, young Holmes was a stroke of genius, the New Girl creator told PopCulture, as she was able to take on both the dramatic and comedic aspects of the story. 

0comments

"She's a fantastic actress, and what I love about her ... [is] this is obviously a dramatic story, but she's able to play both the absurdity of the situation and the emotional truth of it," Meriwether explained. "There are moments that are comedic in the show, and I think she does an amazing job of handling that tone." The showrunner continued on to praise the way Seyfried transformed her voice and persona to mimic Holmes', saying, "I think people are gonna be blown away by her performance. I was and am." The Dropout premieres Thursday, March 3 on Hulu.