Movies & TV

The Teen Crime Story of the Decade Turns Into a True Crime Series on Hulu

The series will star Elle Fanning as a teenager who encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide.
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In 2014, Massachusetts teen Conrad Roy III died by suicide, poisoning himself with carbon monoxide fumes from his truck in a K-Mart parking lot. In 2017, his girlfriend Michelle Carter stood a very public and highly-scrutinized trial for homicide, with prosecutors arguing that her calls and texts drove Roy to suicide. Formerly the subject of an Esquire feature, Carter’s singular story is about to get the big-screen treatment on Hulu as The Girl From Plainville, a true crime series with Elle Fanning attached to star.

Now, we finally have our first teaser trailer for The Girl From Plainville, giving us a look at Fanning's portrayal of Carter. The footage only lasts about 30 seconds, but we just have to say: Fanning is absolutely haunting. We immediately see Carter telling her parents that Conrad died. Their response: "Who's Conrad?" Then, we see a glimpse of the mountains of text messages Roy and Carter sent to each other, followed by a fleeting look at the trial. We should see more over the coming weeks, but we're already to call it and say that Hulu couldn't have found a better Michelle Carter than Elle Fanning.

Here’s everything else we know about the series thus far.

What Will The Girl From Plainville Be About?

Envisioned as a limited series, The Girl From Plainville will explore the long and twisted relationship between Carter and Roy, which led to his death and her controversial conviction. (Interest in this story appears to be spiking—just last year, the case was the subject of an HBO documentary titled I Love You, Now Die. The story also took center stage in a Lifetime original movie, called Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill.)

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Carter and Roy first met in Florida in 2012, where they were each visiting relatives. Though they lived less than an hour away from one another in the Boston suburbs, they saw one another only a handful of times over the following two years; however, they frequently called, emailed, and texted one another. Each suffered from mental health issues, with Roy experiencing social anxiety and Carter receiving treatment for an eating disorder, as well as taking prescription psychiatric medication.

According to court documents, Roy was allegedly physically abused by his father and verbally abused by his grandfather. In 2012, he attempted suicide in the wake of his parents’ divorce. Carter dissuaded him from suicide on multiple occasions, but in June 2014, everything changed. She began to conspire with him by text as he planned his suicide, sending messages like, “What about hanging yourself or stabbing yourself?” and, “Why don’t you just drink bleach?” About two weeks later, Roy was dead by his own hand. Two months later, Carter texted a friend, "I could have stopped him. I was on the phone with him and he got out of the car because it was working and he got scared and I fucking told him to get back in. I could of [sic] stopped him but I fucking didnt. All I had to say was I love you."

In February 2015, Carter was indicted for involuntary manslaughter, a homicide charge carrying a maximum 20-year sentence. After a series of appeals, the case went forward in June 2017, with the judge finding that Carter encouraged an uncertain Roy to his death. Carter was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and sentenced to two and a half years in prison. Following an appeals process, Carter began serving a reduced 15-month prison sentence in February 2019. The case attracted immense media attention, with many speculating that the outcome would establish a new legal precedent about encouragement to commit suicide.

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Who’s in the Cast?

Elle Fanning, a Hulu darling who most recently starred in The Great, will star as Carter, while the jury is still out on casting for Roy. Liz Hannah (writer of The Post) and Patrick McManus (executive producer of Peacock’s Dr. Death) will serve as co-showrunners and executive producers. Jesse Barron (author of the original Esquire article) and Erin Lee Carr (director of I Love You, Now Die) will also serve as consulting producers.

When Will The Girl From Plainville Hit Hulu?

The Girl From Plainville will premiere on March 29th. Watch this space for further updates as we know more.

FromEsquire US

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Adrienne Westenfeld
Assistant Editor
Adrienne Westenfeld is a writer and editor at Esquire, where she covers books and culture.
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