Although Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney has spent much of his career exploring stories that deal with dishonest ("Enron: The most intelligent guys") and controversial ("Going Clear: Scientology and Prison Conviction") , there are still things that shock him by making his films.
After making his latest HBO documentary, "The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley," Gibney still does not understand how the main subject of the film, Theranos' founder, Elizabeth Holmes, wanted to deny committing fraud .
"This testifies to one of the truly interesting psychological dimensions of the story, namely that most people who know how to tell a fraudulent story are good because they believe that it is true, "Gibney told Business Insider. "They convince themselves that they are noble."
In June, Holmes was charged with online fraud (she pleaded not guilty) and resigned from her position as CEO of the blood testing group. Investors have lost hundreds of millions of people since the company closed in September.
But that was not Gibney's only surprise in this movie.
When Holmes became a self-styled billionaire on paper – thanks to the perception of what Theranos could become – she was able to call on the talents of a heavyweight lawyer to oversee her. This lawyer was David Boies, who was also a member of Theranos' board of directors. Gibney said that when Boies appeared in the company photo, it was very difficult for anyone involved to agree to speak for the film.
"They were afraid that he would sue them in the act of forgetting," Gibney said. "It was really hard for someone who is trying to understand what happened in a company."
The film shows how intimidating Boies's tactics were. A scene returns on the five-hour meeting, John Carreyrou, a Wall Street Journal reporter (who wrote the book "Bad Blood", which has been behind much of the insight that is going on. in the film) with Daniel Young, Theranos executive, The meeting was supervised by Heather King, general counsel for Boies and Theranos. We hear Carreyrou's recording of the interview as both parties discuss sourcing and accusations that Carreyrou would want trade secrets.
Read more: The Stanford professor, who rejected one of Elizabeth Holmes' early ideas, explains what was happening when one watched the rise and fall of Theranos.
Gibney said that things finally became simpler when it became clear that Theranos was on the ropes and did not have the resources to bring to justice the people who would speak.
"Despite the good that people could do in introducing themselves, they were so terrified that their lives would be destroyed by a lawyer that they were silent," Gibney said. "It was really interesting for me."
"The Inventor" is currently available for broadcast on HBO GO / NOW.