Hulu's highly anticipated show about the rise and fall of Elizabeth Holmes is finally here. Based on Rebecca Jarvis' podcast (opens in new tab) of the same name, The Dropout follows the entrepreneur from her teenage years to her time as head of the biomedical company Theranos, which claimed to be able to run several tests with just a few drops of blood. Eventually, the company's fraudulent practices emerged, and Holmes was found guilty (opens in new tab) earlier this year of defrauding her investors.
Continuing TV's spring of scam, the show goes deep on Holmes and the people around her who championed her vision, realized she was a fraud, or got stuck somewhere in the middle. To tell this story, The Dropout gathered a stellar cast of TV vets, with actors from both Succession and Sesame Street. Here's our guide to the cast of The Dropout.
Amanda Seyfried as Elizabeth Holmes
Elizabeth Holmes is just a sophomore when she drops out of Stanford to found her own biomedical company. Little does the Steve Jobs-loving executive know that she'll end up defrauding her investors in pursuit of her goals. Seyfried got her start on soap operas in the early '00s before her breakout roles on movies and shows including Mean Girls, Veronica Mars, Mamma Mia!, Jennifer's Body, and Big Love. She recently received her first Oscar nomination for portraying Old Hollywood starlet Marion Davies in Mank.
Naveen Andrews as Sunny Balwani
Holmes meets Sunny Balwani, a successful tech founder, on a language-immersion trip in China. They later stay in touch and start dating, with Holmes eventually bringing him in on Theranos, though they keep their relationship secret. Andrews is best known for playing Sayid in all six seasons of Lost, for which he received an Emmy nomination. The British-born actor also starred on the shows Sense8, Instinct, and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.
Elizabeth Marvel as Noel Holmes
Holmes' mom Noel stands by her daughter throughout the founding of the Theranos and the rise of the company, which is thanks in part to the Holmes' family connections (Noel worked as a congressional aide before giving birth to Elizabeth). Marvel has appeared in several drama series over the years, including Person of Interest, Fargo, and Manifest. She's also played political roles before—you might remember her on House of Cards or as President Elizabeth Keane in Homeland.
Michel Gill as Chris Holmes
When The Dropout starts, Holmes' father Chris has just lost his job as Enron as the scandal unfolds. In the years after the fallout, Chris is a passionate supporter of his daughter, even telling her to work rather than staying by his hospital bed in one scene. Gill portrayed another House of Cards politician: Garrett Walker. He's also appeared on the hits Mr. Robot, Ray Donovan, The Get Down, and recently HBO's The Gilded Age.
Bill Irwin as Channing Robertson
As a freshman at Stanford, Holmes convinces Professor Robertson to let her join his graduate-level lab, and he goes on to become an investor and advisor as she builds Theranos. Tony Award-winner Irwin had a decades-long run on Sesame Street as Elmo's World character Mr. Noodle in the 90s and 00s. Recently he's starred on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Legion, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and The Gilded Age.
Utkarsh Ambudkar as Rakesh Madhava
Rakesh meets Holmes as a TA in one of her freshman classes. He goes on to be an early employee at Theranos, helping design the first blood testing prototype. Ambudkar is best known for playing Mindy Lahiri's brother on The Mindy Project, and he also plays Devi's teacher on Never Have I Ever. He's also a longtime collaborator with Lin-Manuel Miranda, having performed with him in the troupe Freestyle Love Supreme and played Aaron Burr in an early version of Hamilton.
James Hiroyuki Liao as Edmond Ku
Engineer Edmond Ku is another early employee of Theranos, who is one of the first people to feel conflicted about the direction that the company is heading. Brooklyn native Liao previously appeared on the shows Cowboy Bebop, Manifest, Unforgettable, Prison Break, and 24.
Stephen Fry as Ian Gibbons
Gibbons works as a biochemist for Theranos, and sees himself as a father figure and advisor to Holmes, though he slowly ends up outside of the founder's inner circle. Fry came to prominence as a beloved British comic in the 80s and 90s, working with Hugh Laurie and Emma Thompson among others. Over the years he's starred in the shows Bones, The Great Indoors, and 24: Live Another Day.
Laurie Metcalf as Dr. Phyllis Gardner
Stanford professor Dr. Phylis Gardener has a pre-Theranos encounter with Holmes, that leaves her skeptical towards the founder, especially when Theranos becomes a tech unicorn. Metcalf is best known among film fans for playing the mom in Lady Bird. She's also been a mainstay on network TV for decades, with appearances on the shows Roseanne, The Big Bang Theory, and The Conners.
William H. Macy as Richard Fuisz
Holmes' childhood neighbor Dr. Fuisz is an inventor, entrepreneur, and physician who runs a biomedical research company. When he files a patent that Theranos would need to put their machines in patients' homes, Holmes sues him rather than working with him, or "paying him off," as she puts it. Macy is best known for playing Frank Gallagher in the long-running Showtime series Shameless. He also appeared in the films Room, Seabiscuit, and Jurassic Park III.
Sam Waterston as George Shultz
Theranos board member Shultz is a former Secretary of State and Treasury Secretary who passionately supported Holmes, even causing discord in his own family. Waterston is best known for playing Jack McCoy on over 300 episodes of Law & Order, and he'll be reprising his role in the new revival. He's also starred on the shows Grace and Frankie and The Newsroom, as well as the films Miss Sloane and On the Basis of Sex.
Dylan Minnette as Tyler Shultz
George Shultz grandson Tyler is one of the earliest whistleblowers from Theranos, after getting a job in its lab and seeing the company's deceptive practices. Minnette got his start as a child actor on shows including Prison Break and Drake & Josh. Recently he's starred in Netflix's 13 Reasons Why and this year's Scream reboot. He's also the singer and rhythm guitarist of the band Wallows.
Alan Ruck as Dr. Jay Rosan
Succession star Alan Ruck plays Dr. Rosan, a Walgreens executive who prefers to be called Dr. Jay because of his basketball player past. Rosan is also an entreprenur, who believed in Theranos' vision and worked closely with Holmes on the company's partnership with Walgreens. Ruck is best known for playing Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off, as well as his performance on the HBO hit as aspiring politician Connor Roy.
Quinci LeGardye is a Contributing Culture Editor who covers TV, movies, Korean entertainment, books, and pop culture. When she isn’t writing or checking Twitter, she’s probably watching the latest K-drama or giving a concert performance in her car.
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