AUSTIN -- Elle Fanning wasn't in high school at the time that Michelle Carter's case broke, so she didn't follow it closely.
Carter's photograph in the news is what she remembers vividly.
Fanning, who plays Carter on Hulu's "The Girl from Plainville", said that she "remembers her -- her eyebrows and her scowl." "That was all I knew."
Involuntary manslaughter was the charge that Carter was found guilty of in 2017, in connection to the death of Conrad Roy III, 18, in Fairhaven (Massachusetts). Carter, then 17 years old, repeatedly urged Roy, 18-years-old, to commit suicide via text messages. He died by suicide the day after Carter had told her to "get back into" the truck. When he said he was having second thoughts to her, prosecutors stated.
After premiering at the South by Southwest festival, Austin, this weekend, Erin Lee Carr made a documentary about her case on HBO.
Carter was sentenced for 15 months in prison and five years probation. She was freed from prison on January 23, 2020.
Based on Jesse Barron’s 2017 Esquire article, the series aims to show "a deeper side that goes above the headlines", Fanning, who also serves in executive producer capacity, stated.
This is exactly what Liz Hannah, executive producer and writer, and Patrick MacManus, co-showrunner, said attracted them to the project.
Hannah stated that Jesse's article was very informative and revealed a lot about Michelle, Conrad and their families. "We felt that there was an opportunity for us to examine these characters and their relationships and view this situation with empathy."
MacManus stated that they went through thousands of text messages, hundreds of pages of testimony and depositions to create a picture of their lives together with their family members and friends.
MacManus stated, "We knew there had to be a deeper dive."
The show's producers were particularly concerned about mental health and the negative effects technology can have.
The show's viewers can see that Roy and Carter were almost exclusively reliant on text messages. Both teens lived in Massachusetts and struggled with depression. Roy tried to commit suicide before.
Carr was a consultant producer for the Hulu show and met with Fanning via Zoom to discuss how to best tell Carter's story in an approach that is really about mental health . ET.
Fanning stated that technology was the real weapon in the story during the panel discussion following the screening.