On Hulu’s The Girl From Plainville, Emmy nominee Elle Fanning plays Michelle Carter. In 2017, Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter due to texts she sent to her boyfriend, Conrad Roy, encouraging him to commit suicide. The Girl From Plainville tells the story of Carter and Roy, dramatizing their relationship and the unprecedented Massachusetts trial that led to a guilty verdict. The show focuses on one reported aspect of Carter’s personality, which is her obsession with the Fox television show Glee and, in particular, the relationship between its stars Lea Michele and Corey Monteith. Michele and Monteith played lovers on Glee and dated in real life from 2012 until his tragic death in 2013 at age 31.
Fanning, who also served as a producer on The Girl From Plainville, spoke to Variety about playing Michelle Carter, which she says involved watching “a lot” of Glee and getting as obsessed with Michele’s mannerisms as her character.
I watched a lot of Glee. She [Michelle Carter] was a huge Glee fan. I had seen the show, but I watched a lot of it on set. Reading the [Plainville] pilot, in the last scene she’s singing “Make You Feel My Love,” mimicking Lea Michele’s grief. Lea’s grief was real in the show; she’s also mourning her real-life boyfriend I’ve never met her, but I know every mannerism that she does in that scene. I have a legal pad of notes. I wrote down every time she blinked, every time she moved</a> her hand with each word, to mimic the emotion. It was a real exercise. I felt really connected to her, because I feel like I’ve seen her grieve. It was very meta.
Fanning also told Variety about the most challenging parts of making the show. “I think the toughest part was to balance the fiction and reality,” she said. “That’s a theme throughout our show — balancing fantasy and reality. This is a real story, and you need to be sensitive to that, but then we have to also create a show and think about things in a cinematic point of view.
You can stream the first seven episodes of The Girl From Plainville on Hulu. The eighth and final episode of the miniseries drops on Tuesday, May 3.