Murder in the heartland. Elizabeth Olsen plays a Texas housewife with a very dark secret in HBO Max’s new series Love & Death.
The show is based on the true story of Candy Montgomery, who was accused in 1980 of brutally murdering her best friend Betty Gore. Candy, then 30, was married to an electrical engineer named Pat Montgomery, while Betty was married to Allan Gore. At the time, Candy was having affair with Allan. Candy claimed that Betty attacked her with an axe after discovering the infidelity, but she managed to take control of the weapon and strike Betty. She pleaded self-defense and was ultimately found not guilty, though she admitted to slashing Betty with the axe 41 times.
If this story sounds familiar, it might be because there was already a TV show about it. In May 2022, Jessica Biel starred as the titular Candy in the Hulu limited series Candy, which featured Melanie Lynskey as Betty. That version’s cast also included Pablo Schreiber, Timothy Simons and Raúl Esparza, with cameo appearances by Biel and Lynskey’s respective husbands, Justin Timberlake and Jason Ritter.
While the two series have already drawn comparisons, Olsen said that Biel reached out to her to discuss their experiences playing the same character. “It actually was something that connected us. She’s a very impressive and sweet and talented woman,” the WandaVision actress told WSJ. Magazine of the Sinner alum in April 2023. “I was terrified at first of having the same shows seemingly come out around the same time, and she really made that feel like not such a big deal.”
Biel, for her part, has expressed support for Love & Death via social media, sharing Instagram photos of herself and Olsen in character in February 2023. “The METAVERSE IS REAL ,” the Valentine’s Day star joked at the time. “Can’t wait to watch #ElizabethOlsen KILL in this role. Go rewatch @candyonhulu as we wait for Love & Death on @hbomax!!”
Ahead of Love & Death‘s premiere, Olsen made it clear that she doesn’t plan to compare her version of the tale to Biel’s. “There’s no need to have competition,” the Martha Marcy May Marlene actress told Entertainment Tonight in April 2023. “Stories that are interesting deserve to be told and every way you’re going to tell it, it’s gonna be different. It’s impossible for it to be the same.”
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