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Elizabeth Olsen on HBO’s New Series Love & Death, The Complexity of Candy Montgomery & More

Photograph by Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max

Last year, Hulu released its miniseries about the infamous Candy Montgomery axe-murder in 1980.

While that Jessica Biel vehicle focused on the days leading up to Montgomery murdering her lover’s wife, Betty Gore, HBO Max’s new series Love & Death created by David E. Kelley focuses on the years leading up to the murder, investigating Montgomery’s smalltown Texas life and her affair that leads to her crime.

We had the chance to catch up with Elizabeth Olsen (WandaVision) ahead of the world premiere at SXSW back in March to discuss Candy’s tragedy and what a story from the 80s reflects today.

Pop Break: So, I’ve already talked with the director about the story with any conceptions. Did you land on the character differently once you finished the project, or through filming?

Elizabeth Olsen: The thing I latched on to was her resilience and optimism. But that’s because I’m playing this character. I don’t know what other people are going to take away.

PB: I’m more looking at the public perception of Candy. Do you find her to be tragic or sympathetic?

Elizabeth Olsen: I mean, I think a lot of tragic characters are sympathetic. Hopefully. I think I hope that’s the point of telling these stories- to disagree with people’s actions but understand why they make them. 

PB: Jesse Plemons was talking about how he views this where in the ’80s, you couldn’t as openly talk about your feelings. You couldn’t go to therapy. Was that something you guys talked about?

Elizabeth Olsen: A lot. We talked about their resources. They live in a small town. Community is their church. That’s their friendship group. That’s their social group. So depending on your own emotional intelligence or parents that you had, you only have certain resources because there’s no other bigger help. So we talked a lot about these people being in their 20s but kind of the circumstances for them feel more like high school to us — the emotional resources they had, that they were going off of.

PB: Last thing is, I could see this having parallels to sensationalized stories like everything right now. Where do you find that fitting in?

Elizabeth Olsen: The thing that I’m kind of fascinated by, is we’re at a time right now where it feels like we have endless options that we’re inundated with. And it’s almost arresting and makes us feel immobile as people how to make a choice. And in this circumstance, it seems like there were no options, which is equally arresting. So I think, that to me, those were the parallels that I found in the characters, of how paralyzed we can feel when you don’t really know what choices to make. You have an endless amount. That’s kind of where I found some sort of connection to today.

Catch Elizabeth Olsen in HBO MAX’s Love & Death which premieres on Thursday April 27.



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