July 09, 2019
The headlines you couldn't believe about text messages and a suicide are now the subject of an HBO documentary.
I Love You, Now Die tells the story of Michelle Carter and what happened following the death of Conrad Roy. Directed by Erin Lee Carr of Mommy Dead and Dearest fame, the new two-part documentary features the families, friends and communities affected by 18-year-old Roy's suicide and the court case that ensued.
"They were each other's confidante," Carr told E! News about the relationship between Carter and Roy. "They communicated so much at these crazy intense intervals and they really shared things that they hadn't shared with others. There was an intimacy and closeness that was insane given the fact that they only met a handful of times."
Michelle Carter and Conrad Roy fell in love in 2012. They didn't live near one another and only had five times together in person, but they exchanged endless amounts of texts over the course of their relationship. Roy was found dead in his car in July 2014. It looked like a standard suicide case, death by way of carbon-monoxide, but investigators found text messages from Carter, 17 at the time, encouraging Roy to kill himself. Text messages indicate she told him to get back into the truck after he exited the vehicle before his death.
Court filings detailed Roy had attempted suicide in the past and suffered from extreme bouts of anxiety and was on medication for depression and saw a cognitive behavior specialist before his death. All these details made for countless headlines.
"Michelle Carter is captivating. She's beautiful, she's privileged, she's somebody who remains a cipher. She did not testify in her own defense. We feel pretty unclear about what her motives were. The prosecution alleges that she helped convince a guy to kill himself to become popular. That's too simplistic," Carr said. "And so I think because she didn't testify in her own defense and because she was found guilty, it's sort of this meandering question of, ‘Who is Michelle Carter?'"
In the documentary, Carr and her team explore the relationship between Roy and Carter with access to thousands of their texts, family members, friends and law enforcement.
What You Need to Know About Michelle Carter and I Love You, Now Die: The Glee Connection, the Texts and More
Reviewing the numerous texts, the team discovered a connection to Lea Michele and Glee. Carter texted Roy dialogue from Glee and following Roy's death, Carter also sent messages to friends with lines lifted from the series and passed off as her own.
"I mean, we all like Lea Michele, but I don't ever say the words of Lea Michele and pretend like they're my own. That speaks to a level of delusion that is sort of unprecedented," Carr said.
The Carter family did not participate in the documentary and Carr said she understands. She did screen the two-part documentary for Roy's family. Click play on the video above to hear her thoughts on both families in the aftermath of Roy's death.
In 2017, Carter was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the suicide of Roy. She was found guilty and began her 15-month prison sentence in February 2019 after a failed appeal. The documentary will feature footage from the trial, interviews with Conrad Roy's immediate family; Joseph Cataldo, Michelle Carter's defense attorney; Dr. Peter Breggin, an expert witness for the defense; police detectives; and journalists who covered the case.
Carr said she hopes viewers will now be careful with what they're texting and it's OK to have mental health issues. "You should try and talk to your family about it, never encourage somebody else to commit suicide ever…and life is precious. It's not a given and we should cherish the people around us," she said.
I Love You, Now Die premieres Tuesday, July 9 at 8 p.m. and concludes Wednesday, July 10 at 8 p.m. on HBO.
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