'The Dropout's Alan Ruck Talks Jay Rosan's 'Huge Mistakes' in 'Damn Near Unbelievable' Theranos Scam (Exclusive)

As The Dropout dives further into the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes, the toll of unwitting accomplices to Theranos' scam grows, with the latest buy-in being Dr. Jay Rosan, a bigwig at Walgreens who goes all-in on the tech startup in the new episode titled "Old White Men." Alan Ruck, who plays Rosan, opened up to PopCulture.com ahead of the premiere about how his character's desire to make a "big splash" would ultimately lead to his undoing

"It's a true story that's damn near unbelievable – that a young person could have so much charisma and magic and be so misguided that she could basically hornswoggle a whole bunch of people who should have known better into following her," Ruck said of Holmes' story. "She's kind of like the Pied Piper. They all just followed right behind her, and it got horribly out of control, and here we all are – she's in big trouble and she's been convicted. It's sad, it's a little sad."

Despite the encroaching sadness of Holmes' story, director Michael Showalter "tried to mine all the comedic moments he could," which Ruck said fit perfectly with the classical sense of what comedy is. "It is a comedy in the classic sense that you watch stories about foolish people, and then hopefully you don't make those mistakes," Ruck told PopCulture.

Ruck didn't reach out to Rosan before portraying him in the Hulu series – a courtesy after how the doc's mistakes will play out on screen, he said. "All these people that Elizabeth duped, this was not their finest hour," the Succession star noted. "Some really powerful, brilliant people – George Shultz, Henry Kissinger, others – people much bigger and shinier than Jay Rosan, were taken in by Elizabeth ... and I don't think it would be a very nice thing to do to call him up or try to get in touch with him and say 'Oh, by the way, I'm playing you in a show where you made some huge mistakes. You wanna talk about it?'"


Looking back on Rosan's part in Theranos – his endorsement of Holmes and Sunny Balwani's dubious FDA skirting "just for now" and push for Walgreens CFO Wade (Josh Pais) to embrace the "new world" of tech Theranos represented – Ruck sees a simple motivation. "I just tried to think of it as a guy who's right around retirement age who kind of wanted to go out with a big splash," he said. Everybody, all of them, saw great big dollar signs attached to this myth, and that was their undoing." The Dropout is streaming now on Hulu, with new episodes arriving weekly on Thursdays.