Although there are a lot of shots of Elizabeth Holmes in Alex Gibney's latest HBO documentary, "The Inventor: For the Blood in Silicon Valley", which looks at the rise and fall of Holmes & # 39; s company Theranos, the director has them never interviewed camera. But it was not a lack of attempts.
The Oscar winner said he looked at Theranos, the blood-searching startup that turned Holmes into a billionaire on paper, until the question of how the tech actually worked led to the company collapsing. First, he grabbed Holmes and tried to interview her. This was the beginning of a conversation that did most of the document's production and did not work.
The closest production Holmes ever made was a five-hour dinner that one of the film producers Jessie Deeter had with Holmes.
"I think most of that I spent Elizabeth trying to get information from Jesse about what we were doing right now," Gibney told Business Insider.
But through Deeter's account of this dinner, Gibney and his team also had a sense of Holmes' mindset about the collapse of Theranos.
"It was clear that Elizabeth saw herself as a victim," Gibney said. "That she became a scapegoat because she was a woman, if a man had done that, nobody would have cared, I think that's cops ̵
This resulted in email exchanges between Gibney and Holmes, which lasted for months while he was making the film. Gibney's bad luck with Holmes should come in front of the camera and tell her truth. In response, Holmes would only say that she might later agree to an interview when "Theranos was back on her feet" (as Gibney said, Holmes said).
Gibney once said Holmes was trying to better portray Therano's fortune when it received a $ 100 million loan. But even after that she never granted an interview.
"The silence was deafening," he said.
Gibney compared the interaction with Holmes with his time as he tried to interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for his 2013 documentary "We Steal Secrets: The History of WikiLeaks."
"I think it was the same time, a five-hour meeting with Julian Assange that caused me to have no access," Gibney said. "And that turned out to be a great blessing because the story focused on Chelsea Manning, where it should have been."
Read mor e: 100 hours leaked footage, a bouncy house and MC Hammer: How the HBO documentary on the disgraced blood investigation company Theranos came together
And without the Holmes interview, the whistleblowers Tyler Shultz and Erika Cheung, who have toppled Theranos, form a large part of The Inventor.
Gibney admitted he had jumped through many hoops to get Holmes in front of the camera. But there comes a moment when it is no longer worthwhile.
"At some point you realize that you are being played," he said. "Access is a kind of double-edged sword, people sometimes grant access if they are treated cheaply, so you have to be very careful, sometimes you can tell a better story if you do not have access."
"The Inventor: Out of Blood in Silicon Valley" is available on HBO GO / NOW as a stream.