‘Girl From Plainville’ Has a Shocking Connection to ‘Glee’

Elle Fanning as Michelle Carter in ‘The Girl From Plainville’ and Lea Michele as Rachel Berry in ‘Glee’.
Steve Dietl/Hulu; Kristin Callahan/Shutterstock

Life imitating art Elle Fanning‘s Hulu series features a shocking connection to Glee‘s Rachel Berry, played by Lea Michele.

In The Girl From Plainville — which is based on the case of Michelle Carter, a teenager who allegedly urged her boyfriend to commit suicide via text message — Fanning, 23, rehearses a monologue that Rachel Berry gave her fellow Glee Club members in the season 5 episode “The Quarterback.” The episode of the Fox show was inspired by the 2013 death of Cory Monteith and features several nods to his real-life romance with Michele, 35, who he was dating at the time.

“I loved him and he loved me,” the fictional Michelle says tearfully into the mirror. “He loved all of you guys. I know he did. I love to sing in my car, and I used to sing solo before Finn. This was the first song that we would sing together when we used to drive around together.”

After her first performance of her speech, she stops and replays it on her tablet. She can then recite the scene along with the episode. Carter then sings Adele’s “Make You Feel My Love” — just like Rachel does on Glee — while crying before the episode ends with her taking a deep breath and staring calmly ahead at her reflection.

Carter, now 24, was the focus of attention in 2014 when Conrad Roy, her ex-boyfriend, committed suicide after inhaling carbon monoxide fumes from his truck. In the wake of Roy’s death, authorities found text messages from Carter on his phone. She encouraged him to remain in the car, even though he wanted out and not take his own life. At the time of his death Carter made numerous phone calls to Roy, which a judge ruled was evidence she convinced him to do so.

In June 2015, Carter’s lawyers argued that Roy had a history of suicidal ideation and that through most of their relationship, she had encouraged him to seek help. “Taking all the texts in context, she tried to talk him out of it,” Attorney Joseph Cataldo told The Sun ChronicleIt was at that time. “Michelle Carter did not cause his death.” Two years later, however, Carter was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 months in prison and 5 years of probation. Because of her good behavior, she was released in January 2020.

Carter frequently sent Roy quotes during their turbulent relationship. GleeShe passed on the following words:

“She was a huge Glee fan,” Fanning told Variety on Tuesday, March 29, about her character’s connection to the hit series. “I had seen the show, but I watched a lot of it on set. Reading the pilot, in the last scene she’s singing ‘Make You Feel My Love,’ mimicking Lea Michele’s grief. Lea’s grief was real in the show; she’s also mourning her real-life boyfriend.”

She continued: “I’ve never met [Michele]But I do know every mannerism she uses in this scene. I have a notebook of notes. I took down every blink she made, and every movement she made with each word to imitate the emotion. It was quite an exercise. I felt really connected to her, because I feel like I’ve seen her grieve. It was very meta.”

The first three episodes Plainville GirlYou can stream them on Hulu right now, with the next episodes premiering Tuesdays.

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