Elizabeth Holmes is the disgraced CEO and founder of Silicon Valley healthcare start-up Theranos

By Helen Murphy
May 01, 2019 03:49 PM
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Kate McKinnon can’t wait to play Elizabeth Holmes.

During Hulu’s Upfront presentation on Wednesday, the 35-year-old comedian discussed her role as the disgraced Silicon Valley healthcare CEO in the upcoming series The Dropout.

“If you look under your chairs, you may all find that you have little nano-tainers of blood to take home and do whatever you need with them,” she said, jokingly referencing Holmes’ former company Theranos.

“When I first read about Elizabeth Holmes, my initial reaction was — that’s me!” she told the audience. “And so I’m still picking that apart with my very gifted therapist. Because I have not been charged with fraud … yet!”

“But I did fall so instantly in love with this fascinating and polarizing character,” McKinnon continued. “We’ve seen the turtlenecks, we’ve heard the voice — we love her!”

“Any time I hear people talking about Elizabeth Holmes, whether they’re ripping her to shreds or not, they’re smiling. People love Liz Holmes,” she added. “So I’m so excited to get under the hood of this character and really find out what makes her tick.”

Credit: Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic; C Flanigan/Getty Images

McKinnon also said that her time on Saturday Night Live has helped her learn how to portray unlikeable characters.

“On SNL, you only have a few minutes to present a little thesis about a character and, regardless of whoever I’m doing, my goal is always to figure out what I love about that person,” McKinnon shared. “Lorne Michaels [the creator of SNL] taught me that, I think that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned at SNL.

She continued: “I am so excited to have more than just a few minutes in a sketch to really develop this character and figure out the humanity and the insanity of this uniquely American story in this uniquely American moment.”

Elizabeth Holmes
| Credit: David Orrell/CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Last month, it was announced that McKinnon would star in and executive produce the Hulu limited series about Holmes.

The series will be based on ABC News/ABC Radio’s The Dropout podcast and is expected to be between six and 10 episodes.

Alongside the SNL actress, podcast host Rebecca Jarvis and producers Taylor Dunn and Victoria Thompson will also executive produce.

In the fall of 2014, the former Theranos CEO was named one of Forbes’s richest women in America, and her start-up healthcare company was valued at $9 billion. Around 20 months later, Holmes’ net worth was estimated at $0 and she was charged with an “elaborate years-long” fraud, having duped millions.

McKinnon isn’t the only star set to play Holmes: Jennifer Lawrence has also signed on to play the former Theranos CEO in Bad Blood, a film about the company.