Casting barely legal heartthrobs, child stars, and actors from otherwise family-friendly franchises in true crime adaptations has become somewhat of a trend in recent years. Each turn to the dark side has been met with thundering applause from critics, and Warner Bros. has decided to keep things in vogue by green-lighting the story of Texan ax murderer Candy Montgomery for the small screen with WandaVision’s Elizabeth Olsen headlining. The limited series, entitled Love and Death, is executive produced by veteran television writer David E. Kelley and is set to premiere on Warner Bros. streaming platform HBO Max, confirms TVLine’s, Andy Swift.
Sarah Aubrey, head of original content for HBO Max, explains:
“This is a gripping story about the frustrations and desires of two women in a small town that culminates in a terrible act of violence. We are thrilled to be partnering with David, Lesli, Nicole and Per, and incredibly fortunate to have Elizabeth at the center of our story to bring out all the layers of Candy that make this story so unforgettable.”
The individuals mentioned are Kelley, director Lesli Linka Glatter, and producers Nicole Kidman and Per Saari of Blossom Films. Yes, the very same Hollywood star Nicole Kidman. Scott Brown and Megan Creydt of Texas Monthly, Matthew Tinker, Michael Klick, and Helen Verno are also involved. Lionsgate is distributing. About Elizabeth Olsen’s casting, Kevin Beggs, Chairman of Lionsgate Television Group, adds:
“We cannot imagine a more perfect artist to play the leading role of Candy than Elizabeth Olsen. Her talent, charisma and energy can bewitch audiences like no other. We’re proud to be collaborating with a world-class creative team of Lesli, David and Nicole on this thrilling and intriguing series and to bring another exciting premium property to our partners at HBO Max.”
Love and Death is Hollywood’s third attempt at adapting Candy Montgomery’s 1980 murder of fellow housewife Betty Gore, after Stephen Gyllenhaal’s 1990 television movie A Killing in a Small Town and the quickly axed Candy starring Elizabeth Moss. It tells the story of two bored and unhappy Churchgoers in Wylie, Texas: Candy Montgomery (played by Elizabeth Olsen) and Betty Gore. Candy was married to wealthy Texas Instruments electrical engineer Pat Montgomery while Betty had quiet and relatively average Allan Gore. Both couples attended The Methodist Church of Lucas and were good friends. Their children attended the same Bible school gatherings together.
On the surface, both families seemed destined for Southwestern paradise. Until Betty started suffering from post-partum depression and Candy herself grew tiresome of her comparatively wholesome marriage. Candy figured an affair was in order and didn’t waste any time picking out Betty’s husband Allan from the pack. After several months of frequenting motels, Allan’s relationship with Betty suffered. The couple began seeing a therapist; as a result, Allan and Candy mutually called off their regular sexcapades. The twist: despite all manner of precaution, Betty got wind of her husband’s infidelity and confronted Candy while Allan was away on business.
In her trial, Candy claimed to have killed Betty in self-defense. The depressed mother of two allegedly swung the ax at Candy first, with the latter returning the blow to her toe with several precise strikes to Betty’s face. Candy Montgomery was eventually declared not guilty and would later live out the rest of her days in Georgia under a new identity. Elizabeth Olsen’s Candy would be based on the true crime book Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs by Jim Atkinson and Joe Bob Briggs, as well as select articles from Texas Monthly.
Elizabeth Olsen is no stranger to playing unhinged women willing to maim and kill for love. The Sherman Oaks native is recognizable to most casual audiences for playing Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The character began as a grieving daughter and fledgling Avenger in Age of Ultron, only to grow into a terrifying tour de force capable of mortally wounding Thanos and warping a portion of reality by the strength of her Chaos Magic alone. As Maximoff, Olsen channeled her inner post-trauma portraying a dolorous wife to Paul Bettany’s Vision, eventually completing her transformation into the Scarlet Witch in Disney+ miniseries WandaVision.
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda will make her next appearance in Phase Four’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness alongside Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular Master of the Mystic Arts. Aside from her MCU accomplishments, the 32-year-old was last seen playing the lead role of Leigh Shaw (another widow) on Facebook Watch’s Sorry For Your Loss. She also has other acting credits, having appeared in three independent films in 2017 alone: Matt Spicer’s black comedy Ingrid Goes West, Taylor Sheridan’s Wind River alongside fellow Earth’s Mightiest Hero Jeremy Renner, and Kodachrome by director Mark Raso, based on a New York Times article written by publisher A. G. Sulzberger.
Elizabeth Olsen taking a turn into true crime will mean she joins others like pop sensation Darren Criss (Glee) who won a Golden Globe for playing Gianni Versace’s killer Andrew Cunanan in the second season of American Crime Story. Disney Channel stunner Ross Lynch embodied a young Jeffrey Dahmer in the Milwaukee Cannibal’s 2017 biographical drama directed by Marc Meyers. Zac Efron, everyone’s mid-2000s Tinseltown crush, grew up to play prolific serial killer Ted Bundy in the Netflix crime movie Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile. It’s the way the industry going and Olsen is on board.