When it comes to actors portraying some of the world’s most renowned fraudsters, it’s the tiniest details that prove the most convincing—and by that, we mean their distinctive voices.
And now with the release of The Dropout, it’s Amanda Seyfried’s turn to nail the deep drawl of convicted fraudster Elizabeth Holmes, whose voice has actually become a big talking point in the years since her medical device company unravelled.
Why was Elizabeth Holmes’ voice so low?
As heard in The Dropout, the deep tone synonymous with Elizabeth Holmes is depicted by Amanda Seyfried, who plays the disgraced CEO as she builds up (and hypes up) her now defunct company, Theranos.
Her signature low voice was a noticeable real-life feat for the self-made billionaire (along with her black turtle-neck and slicked back hairstyle), though her employees claimed that she was putting it on as a means to be taken more seriously in the male-dominated business world.
Holmes’ family have denied these claims, confirming that the Theranos founder’s voice is genuinely that deep, and either way, there’s no denying Seyfried’s depiction, several octaves lower than her own signature lighter toned voice, is convincing.
Seyfried has also spoken about how she perfected the low drawl, telling the LA Times that she spent months studying it.
“People are always talking about the voice,” she explained, “It’s the first thing people mentioned. Second is the turtleneck; third is the non-blinking. But the voice is number one. The voice is the foundation. If you don’t, it’s like you’re missing the whole thing.”
She also added that she was potentially concerned for her vocal chords after stretching her voice for hours on end during filming.
“I would be talking like Elizabeth and [my throat would] get a little sore. And I’d be like: this can’t happen. Like, this is freaking me out. Am I going to be able to do this for weeks?”
As Seyfried well knows, the art of portrayal can come at a cost—but here’s hoping her vocals are back to business now. We’re still hoping she (and Meryl Streep) do another Mamma Mia! after all…