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Hot on the heels of its latest buzzworthy documentary, HBO has already premiered another that tackles another high profile incident from the past. The Inventor: Out For Blood In Silicon Valley profiles the rise and fall of the company Theranos as well as its founder Elizabeth Holmes. Though Holmes is featured in the documentary quite extensively, the work is devoid of an actual interview with her giving her take of the events.
There's a reason for that, according to noted director Alex Gibney, who did say that a producer of The Inventor managed to make contact with her and meet for a dinner that lasted five hours. Elizabeth Holmes sounded interested during the dinner, and remained in contact with the team throughout production, but never committed to an interview in which she could tell her story. Ergo, the documentary continued without Holmes, and Gibney shared why he thinks that's for the best:
At some point you realize you're being played. Access is kind of a double-edged sword. People sometimes grant access in exchange for being treated favorably, so you have to be very careful. Sometimes you can tell a better story when you don't have access.
As Alex Gibney explained, he and others were willing to feature Elizabeth Holmes in the documentary, but not at the cost of altering their work at her request. If Elizabeth Holmes did make a request, the director didn't mention it to Business Insider. Gibney did share some details on the long dinner a producer had with Holmes, however, and mentioned he believed a lot of it involved Holmes trying to extract what it was the The Inventor doc was looking into.
Although The Inventor never got that interview, Alex Gibney believes he knows the story Elizabeth Holmes would've told. In his opinion, he thinks that Holmes still won't admit responsibility for her wrongdoing in Theranos' collapse, and would try to spin an alternative way to view the situation.
It was clear that Elizabeth saw herself very much as the victim. That she was being scapegoated because she was a woman. That if this happened to a man nobody would have cared. I think that's bullshit, but anyway, that was her point of view.
Though Alex Gibney doesn't seem to believe Elizabeth Holmes' telling of events, he did admit he would've made some accommodations to get her on camera provided it didn't compromise his earlier remarks on access. Instead, The Inventor features a lot of talk from Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung, who were whistleblowers on the deception that was happening at Theranos. The company touted it could run expensive blood tests with small amounts of blood, in what would've been a revolutionary technology.