The pair reunite to discuss David E. Kelley’s treatment of the infamous Texas true-crime story of Candy Montgomery, a housewife accused of killing her paramour’s wife.
HBO/Max’s Love & Death is, in the words of its director, Lesli Linka Glatter, about an American tragedy. Following Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen), the seven-part limited series examines a Texas woman who seemingly had it all — the perfect family, the perfect marriage — but there was something darker under the surface. After she embarks on an affair with Jesse Plemons’ Allan Gore, the picture-perfect facade fades away. And the tragedy that unfolded is a shocking one: When Gore’s wife, Betty (Lily Rabe), discovers the affair, she — at least according to Montgomery’s testimony — attacked her husband’s mistress with an ax, at which point Montgomery snapped and struck Gore 41 times with the weapon.
The 1980 murder has compelled readers since it was written about in Texas Monthly — so much so that Love & Death is the second time the crime has received the limited series treatment (following last year’s Candy, starring Jessica Biel in the title role).
Glatter and Olsen spoke with THR about the films that inspired the show’s tone and what it was like to shoot the grisly murder.
What was your reaction to the project when it came your way, and did anything stick out that you thought might be a challenge?
LESLI LINKA GLATTER I read the Texas Monthly articles. If this story wasn’t true, you couldn’t make it up. I could not quite believe that this was real life. I was totally fascinated by it, because the circumstances were so beguiling and intriguing to me. And then I jumped into reading the nonfiction book, Evidence of Love. And then lo and behold, David E. Kelley had been sent the same stories. We had never worked together, and I had always wanted to. What immediately made me excited and nervous simultaneously was that there was a big tone shift. There are many things in the beginning that have an inherent humor. You have an affair that starts with people talking about it for three or four months. It’s the most unsexy beginning of any affair ever. And then, this horrible murder happens. The tone shifts pretty drastically in episode four.
ELIZABETH OLSEN Candy was a character that I felt like I hadn’t played. And then [there was] the writing. There was some quirk and absurd oddity to it. I was curious when I spoke with Lesli and David to see if that was just my perspective or if that was intentional and if that was the goal. It was a world that I was excited to play around in and a woman I wanted to understand.
As an actor, what was your way into the character, beyond just reading what was given to you?
OLSEN I always start with a voice for someone, especially if there’s regionalism or a time-period shift. I don’t know what she sounds like; there were no recordings that I could listen to. Then I was trying to find what made sense — how would someone from this place, who has the value system that I was building in my mind, use their voice? Their femininity? Their agreeableness? What in the sounds will help them get what they want? And then it was like a virus … The voice became a walk, physical gestures. It was really fun building her.
Read the rest of this entry