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First look at Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter in Hulu’s ‘The Girl from Plainville’

Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter, and Michael Mosley as Joseph Cataldo in “The Girl from Plainville.”Steve Dietl/HULU

The upcoming Hulu series “The Girl from Plainville,” which is based on the Michelle Carter texting suicide case, just revealed a first look at Elle Fanning in the lead role.

Fanning will play Carter in the upcoming eight-episode series, which explores Carter’s relationship with her then-boyfriend, 18-year-old Conrad Roy III, and the events leading up to his July 2014 suicide. The case sparked worldwide attention. The series is set to be released this spring, according to Hulu.

Many reacted with shock to Fanning’s almost uncanny transformation for her role as Carter.

“I just got chills,” one commenter said on Instagram.

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Carter, of Plainville, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter in 2017 after sending Roy dozens of text messages encouraging him to kill himself. Roy died of carbon monoxide poisoning in his truck in a Fairhaven parking lot. Carter was on the phone with him, listening as he died.

She was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and was released from the Bristol County House of Correction in Dartmouth in January 2020 — about three months early — for good behavior.

The first-look photo was first published by Entertainment Weekly, showing Fanning’s Carter in court with lawyer Joseph Cataldo, played by Michael Mosley.

Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter in the upcoming Hulu series.Steve Dietl/HULU

Series showrunners Liz Hannah and Patrick Macmanus told Entertainment Weekly that Fanning was especially conscious of her depiction of Carter.

“She did not want this to feel sensational,” Macmanus told EW. “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.”

He continued by saying the first time he met Fanning, he was “struck by how eerily similar” she and Carter looked “just naturally.” Hannah told the publication that production wanted to make sure the end result would not be “distracting,” and would “fit into the storytelling.”

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“The Girl from Plainville” is based on the Esquire article of the same name by Jesse Barron. The upcoming series also stars Chloë Sevigny as Lynn Roy, Colton Ryan as Conrad Roy III, Cara Buono as Gail Carter, Kai Lennox as David Carter, and Norbert Leo Butz as Conrad Roy II.

In 2019, HBO released a docuseries based on the trial: “I Love You, Now Die: The Commonwealth v. Michelle Carter.”


Brittany Bowker can be reached at brittany.bowker@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @brittbowker and on Instagram @brittbowker.