Although there are many images of Elizabeth Holmes in the latest HBO documentary by Alex Gibney, "The inventor: a quest for blood in Silicon Valley", which deals with the rise and fall of the company Theranos de Holmes, the director never interviewed him on camera. But it was not for lack of trying.
The Oscar winner said that by examining Theranos – the new blood test company that made Holmes a billionaire on paper – until questions about the way technology works. result in the bankruptcy of the company – the first thing he did was to reach out to Holmes. l & # 39; interview. This was the beginning of a conversation that lasted almost the entire production of the document and that resulted in nothing.
The closest production to Holmes was a five-hour dinner that Jessie Deeter, one of the producers of the film, had with Holmes.
"I think most of it was spent with Elizabeth trying to get some information from Jesse about what we were doing," Gibney told Business Insider.
But thanks to Deeter's account of the dinner, Gibney and his team also had an idea of Holmes' mentality about the Theranos collapse.
"It was clear that Elizabeth saw herself very well as a victim," Gibney said. "That she was clogged because she was a woman.What if it happened to a man, nobody would have cared .. I think that's a bull —" – but anyway, that was his point of view. "
This led to e-mails between Gibney and Holmes, which took place for months during the filming. Gibney's proposal to Holmes was to go to the camera and tell his truth. In response, Holmes will only say that maybe she will maybe accept an interview later, when "Theranos will be back on her feet" (as Gibney told Holmes).
Gibney said at one point that Holmes had tried to describe the fortune of Theranos in improvement thanks to a loan of 100 million dollars. But even after that, she never granted an interview.
"The silence was deafening," he said.
Gibney compared the interaction with Holmes at the time when he was trying to interview Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, for his 2013 documentary, "We're Hiding Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks ".
"I think it was the same amount of time, a five-hour meeting with Julian Assange that prevented me from having access," Gibney said. "And that turned out to be a huge boon because the story then refocused on Chelsea Manning, where it should have been."
Read more e: 100 hours of footage, an inflatable house and MC Hammer: how the HBO documentary about the dishonest blood test company Theranos was reunited
And without the interview with Holmes, whistleblowers Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung, who dropped Theranos, are a big piece of "The Inventor".
Gibney admitted that he would have skipped a lot of obstacles for Holmes to be filmed. But there comes a time when it is not worth it anymore.
"At some point you realize that you are being played," he said. "Access is a kind of double-edged sword, sometimes people give access in exchange for favorable treatment, so you have to be very careful." Sometimes you can tell a better story without access. "
"The Inventor: Out for Blood in Silicon Valley" is available in streaming on HBO GO / NOW.