Hulu shared a first look of the series on Thursday, Jan. 20, sharing photos of Elle as Michelle Carter, whose texting-suicide case inspired the show. In the pictures, Elle looks eerily similar to Michelle in darkened brows and a wig, perfectly recreating one of the teen's many court appearances.
Mad Men actress January Jones put it best in her comment on Elle's Instagram post: "Uncanny wow."
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, writers, executive producers and co-showrunners Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus said it didn't take much work to turn Elle into Michelle. "The first time that I met [Elle], I was really struck by how eerily similar they actually looked just naturally," Patrick said. "It was something that around the table when we all met, we all talked about."
They added that Elle just wore some light makeup and a forehead prosthetic, which helped to match Michelle's hairline. According to Liz, they kept things simple because they didn't want her appearance to be "distracting."
Elle stars opposite Dear Evan Hansen's Colton Ryan, who will portray Conrad "Coco" Roy.
The Hulu series will detail how Michelle was convicted of involuntary manslaughter after Conrad took his own life in 2014.
Neither Michelle nor the Roy family have publicly addressed the Hulu series but Liz and Patrick say that Elle specifically requested the show is written with sensitivity and understanding. "She did not want this to feel sensational," Patrick told Entertainment Weekly. "She wanted it to be an honest portrayal of not just these families and what they went through, but from what people are going through in general on a day-to-day basis when it comes to their mental health."
Liz added, "At the end of the day, yes, I do want people to be entertained by the story, but more than anything, I hope that it's the beginning of a conversation—that we help the conversation for everyone who's affected by mental illness, not just teenagers."
The Girl From Plainville is expected to premiere in spring 2022.