If you just finished binge-watching Inventing Anna and are now jumping headfirst into the The Dropout — the next con artist retelling — then I bet you have a couple thoughts:
Watching the show, your first thought was probably: dang, Elizabeth Holmes sure did have tunnel vision for wanting to be a billionaire.
And second — why did she talk like that?
There's no explanation for the first one (she is who she is), but for the second one — it was most likely a choice. And a choice it was.
The former Theranos CEO — who was convicted in 2018 of four counts of fraud for wrongly convincing investors that she had invented a device that only required small blood samples to run tests — is known for her extremely baritone voice.
Elizabeth has never confirmed or denied the rumors that she purposefully lowered her voice to sound more authoritative in leadership settings, but it is the widely held belief.
On the show, Amanda Seyfried changes her natural voice and adopts a slightly lower, huskier register, in an attempt to imitate Elizabeth. Amanda said she knew nailing the voice was a huge part of the role.
If you have no clue what I'm talking about, here's a 2014 TED Talk of the real Elizabeth Holmes for reference:
"People are always talking about the voice,"she told theLos Angeles Times. "It’s the first thing people mentioned. Second is the turtleneck; third is the non-blinking. But the voice is number one. The voice is the foundation. If you don’t [get it right], it’s like you’re missing the whole thing.”
Amanda spent almost two years of research to master Elizabeth's particular way of speaking. "I went full force into finding out everything I could. There was this huge [encyclopedia], that’s still actually on my desktop, of all the information that had been collected over the two years of research during the development phase of The Dropout."
"The thing that really helped with the voice and how that evolved for me was the deposition, because it was so many hours, and I could just play it on loop."
"I had them all on my desktop, little thumbnails. And I’d be sitting at my desk — at that time, my son was really, really young, and he wasn’t mobile yet, so it was a lot easier when my daughter was at school to just crochet and listen, or to just write things down."
"I felt like I was really doing homework, I was really studying," she added. "I was most excited about that than any homework I ever had to do.”
Amanda spent so much time speaking like Elizabeth Holmes that her throat literally got sore because of it (which makes me wonder if the real Elizabeth frequently had a sore throat).
Amanda said she still sometimes finds herself slipping back into Elizabeth's voice. "I still sometimes talk like her,” she added. “It’s hard to shake.”