Francesca Gregorini interview: ‘The Dropout’ director

“It’s a dream come true,” admits director Francesca Gregorini about receiving her first career Emmy nomination for directing on the acclaimed limited series “The Dropout.” “It’s an incredible show and Liz Meriwether, my hat is off to her; she’s just brilliant,” she remarks about her excitement for the show being so enthusiastically embraced by the TV academy, humbly adding “this is a team sport, film-making is very much a team sport so it’s a group effort. There was so much talent in front and behind the camera and the writing, that it was just destined for greatness.” Watch our exclusive video interview above.

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Hulu’s “The Dropout” stars Oscar nominee Amanda Seyfried as entrepreneur Elizabeth Holmes, who was convicted of criminal fraud for swindling investors on the accuracy of her groundbreaking blood test technology. The eight-part series follows the compelling rise and fall of Holmes and her disgraced biotechnology company Theranos, delving into the psyche of the disgraced CEO that drove her to chase success at all costs. “The Dropout” scored six Emmy nominations, including for Best Limited Series, Best Limited Series/Movie Actress (Seyfried) and nominations for two of the series’ directors – for first-timer Gregorini and also for her colleague Michael Showalter (for the episode “Green Juice”).

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Gregorini is nominated for directing “Iron Sisters,” the sixth episode of the series (written by Wei-Ning Yu), in which we are introduced to Tyler Schultz (Dylan Minette) and Erika Cheung (Camryn Mi-Young Kim), who after soon after joining the ranks at Theranos fresh out of college, discover the shocking reality about  Holmes and the company. The episode also follows outspoken physician and entrepreneur Richard Fuisz (William H. Macy) and Holmes’ former professor Phyllis Gardner (Laurie Metcalf), who in their quest to expose Holmes’ fraud and deception, team up with widow Rochelle Gibbons (Kate Burton) and Wall Street Journal reporter John Carreyrou (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) to build a case against Holmes and Theranos.

Perhaps the most striking parts of the episode are its opening and final scenes, which focuses on the iconic promo video directed by acclaimed documentarian Errol Morris, in which the camera is squarely fixed on Holmes’ face, in which she awkwardly answers Morris’ questions under a spotlight that was designed to further propel her rise to fame and fortune as the successor to the Silicon Valley entrepreneurs that came before her. It ends up being a telling and unexpectedly jarring insight into Holmes’ artifice and lack of substance, almost like a deer-in-the-headlights avatar rather than a real, living and breathing person. “It was just such a great way with that extreme close-up to really get in there,” Gregorini reveals. “With Amanda, she gives you so much and has such command and restraint at the same time,” she says. “I would have just shot that for days if they would have allowed me because it was just too fun. Usually it’s like, when you get what you need, you move on. That’s the unspoken rule. But, with me when I get such greatness, I just wanted to keep going.”

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UPLOADED Aug 3, 2022 11:30 am