If you haven’t heard the real-life story of Michelle Carter, Elle Fanning is here to prove it isn’t one you’ll soon forget. After her boyfriend, Conrad Roy III, committed suicide in the parking lot of a Kmart in Massachusetts, Carter, then 17, was discovered to have sent him what amounted to thousands of text messages encouraging the teen to end his life. Three years later, in 2017, she was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after a much-publicized trial. And now, thanks to Fanning, who portrays Carter in the upcoming Hulu series The Girl From Plainville, the now 24-year-old is back in the spotlight.
It takes just 12 seconds into the trailer that Hulu dropped on Wednesday for it to become clear that Carter isn’t the innocent blonde teen she appears. According to a detective, she sent her friends three days’ worth of text messages about her boyfriend going missing when she knew that he in fact was not: She urged Roy III, who had a history of depression and attempting suicide, to kill himself over text up until the very end. Carter’s defense: “All he thought about was dying,” she tells a friend in between flashbacks of her and Roy III discussing the topic. “I really just wanted to help him.” Still, she maintains her innocence, at one point screaming, “this whole thing is a lie!”
Roy III’s mom, played by Chloë Sevigny, is suspicious from the start: She’d never heard of Carter when her son was alive. She’s doing her best to cope, but it’s not exactly easy when the much-publicized case headed to trial (Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017, and while she faced up to 20 years in prison, was ultimately released less than a year later.) As the legal battle and the media circus accompanying it grow more and more extreme, so does Fanning’s appearance. For whatever reason, the real-life Carter decided to start darkening her eyebrows, making for quite the dramatic look when paired with her blonde hair. Suffice it to say, Fanning and Sevigny bear zero resemblance to themselves the year they memorably served up nonstop glamour at Cannes. See for yourself in the trailer for the series, which premieres on March 29, below.