Amanda Seyfried Deserves All the Awards for Her Performance in The Dropout

Last Updated on September 14, 2022 by Lil Ginge

Amanda Seyfried better get nominated for an Emmy Award for her unbelievable, career-defining performance as Elizabeth Holmes in Hulu’s series The Dropout. The show, also starring Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani, William H. Macy as Richard Fuisz, and Sam Waterston as George Schultz is all about the rise and fall of fraudulent Silicon Valley CEO Elizabeth Holmes and her biotech startup Theranos.

The plot of The Dropout, based on a true story, follows Stanford University dropout Elizabeth Holmes as she founds a billion-dollar company named Theranos. Theranos can supposedly run hundreds of diagnostic blood laboratory tests from a single drop of blood taken with a finger stick rather than an intravenous needle. But Holmes was never able to make the technology work and lied to investors, pharmacies, and patients, pretending Theranos had a real, working product.

The first episode of The Dropout premiered on Hulu on March 3, 2022, and ran for eight episodes. The show was created by Elizabeth Meriweather, and based on the award-winning ABC News podcast of the same name hosted by Rebecca Jarvis.

Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes in Hulu's series The Dropout
Courtesy of Hulu

Who Is The Dropout’s Amanda Seyfried?

Amanda Seyfried The Actor

Amanda Seyfried made her silver screen debut in the movie Mean Girls when she was only 18-years old. She followed up Mean Girls by playing Bill Paxton and Jeanne Tripplehorn’s daughter on the HBO polygamist series Big Love. Seyfried starred in that series for five years. 

Other roles played by Seyfried include her role as Cosette in the musical film Les Misérables, Mamma Mia! (along with legendary actress Meryl Streep), the revival of the television series Twin Peaks, and David Fincher’s film Mank. For Mank, Seyfried received her first Oscar nomination.

Seyfried has said that The Dropout has lead people to understand she has versatility and the ability to completely disappear into a role, which is true. She is thrilled by the notion of getting completely lost in a character, as she does in her electrifying performance as Elizabeth Holmes. 

Amanda Seyfried The Person

In her personal life, Amanda Seyfried moved to the Catskills and lives there with her husband, actor Thomas Sadoski, their two children, and some farm animals.

Through her husband, Seyfried became involved in working with the International Network for Aid, Relief, and Assistance. That is a nonprofit that connects refugee children with physical and mental healthcare. Seyfried’s charitable work became more important to her after having children of her own.

As a person, Amanda Seyfried both empathizes with Elizabeth Holmes but is critical of the way that Holmes’ Theranos project hurt innocent people. 

How Amanda Seyfried Became Elizabeth Holmes for The Dropout

Amanda Seyfried’s Voice and Mannerisms on The Dropout

Amanda Seyfried’s transformation into Elizabeth Holmes for The Dropout is remarkable. Seyfried was able to perfectly match the now-creepy, baritone voice tones that became a hallmark of Holmes on CNBC interviews and other television appearances. 

Seyfried worried about damaging her vocal cords in performing the deep voice for the role of Elizabeth Holmes. She would get a sore throat when enacting the deep baritone which made her nervous.

Another way Seyfried imitated the fraudulent CEO was by blinking her eyes very little in the show. This habit of Holmes’s had the effect of making people speaking with Holmes feel like “the center of her world”, as described by author John Carryorou, the reporter initially responsible for disclosing the Theranos fraud.

Amanda Seyfried relied on old footage of Elizabeth Holmes to learn how to mimic and become the character. This included the trial deposition tapes of Holmes. Seyfried watched them over and over to get to know Holmes and her mannerisms intimately. Onset, Seyfried would watch videos of Elizabeth Holmes giving speeches to help her get into character. 

Costuming and Makeup for Amanda Seyfried on The Dropout

Costume designer Claire Parkinson said that the black turtleneck was the first thing Amanda wore on The Dropout set. The black turtleneck that Holmes always wore as the CRO of Theranos was supposed to emulate her hero, Steve Jobs.

Parkinson also used childhood photos of Holmes to understand how to create the costumes. Parkinson’s goal was to make Holmes look a bit off-trend and awkward at all times. 

Makeup artist Jorjuee Douglas studied photos of Holmes as well. He noticed her makeup trends going beyond the ruby red lipstick. Holmes’s lipstick was often clumpy and she also had out-of-line lip liner.

Sometimes Elizabeth Holmes also wore makeup that clashed with her skin tone in college. Douglas would sometimes make Seyfried scrounge up her face when applying the makeup to effect this.

Amanda Seyfried’s Hair on The Dropout

Hairstylist Vanessa Price said that she was struck by the frizzy hair of Elizabeth Holmes. Price helped Seyfried copy that look on camera.

As Theranos lands more investors on the show, Seyfried as Holmes starts pulling her hair back into a messy bun. This helps her put her best foot forward. And this is how Holmes would “pull [her look] together.”

But Price still kept some measure of frizz and “frazzledness” throughout the show. The levels would change in reaction to what was going on in the story and with Holmes emotionally.

Amanda Seyfried’s Awkward Elizabeth Holmes Dance Moves

Amanda Seyfried wasn’t afraid to show off the cringe-worthy dance moves of Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout. For example, Holmes’s awkward dancing to Lil Wayne’s 2011 hit “How to Love” in front of her fiance, Sunny Balwani (played well by Naveen Andrews). This clip of Seyfried dancing as Holmes became a hit as a viral meme, which is pleasing to Seyfried.

Seyfried has said that the Elizabeth Holmes dance moves on The Dropout were spontaneous. They were not choreographed. The only dance sequence that was choreographed was her longer office routine to Missy Elliott’s We Run This. Seyfried has said she was always trying to find the wrong and awkward move for the moment.

Amanda Seyfried Gave One of the Best Performances of the Year

The year is far from over, but I am confident that Amanda Seyfried’s performance as Elizabeth Holmes on The Dropout will remain one of the best of the year. She is exceptional in the part and will deserve her inevitable Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

Thanks in part to Seyfried’s stunning performance, The Dropout has terrific reviews with an 89% aggregate rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Tomatoes critical consensus reads, “The Dropout succeeds more as a docudrama than a dark comedy, but Amanda Seyfried’s disquieting portrayal of Elizabeth Holmes brings fresh blood to this retelling of recent history.”

I truly did not fully understand what a remarkable actress Amanda Seyfried is before watching her performance as Elizabeth Holmes on The Dropout. But now I am more excited than ever to see what her next projects turn out to be. I think she’s just beginning to hit her stride as one of the best actors in Hollywood.

If you enjoyed this article on Amanda Seyfried’s performance as Elizabeth Holmes in The Dropout, check out my article on Midori Frances in The Sex Lives of College Girls.

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