With Candy, the Hulu miniseries exploring the ugly 1980 homicide of Betty Gore by the hands of good friend Candy Montgomery, Jessica Biel continues her exploration of the crime thriller style, additionally exec producing the venture after earlier involvement with The Sinner and Cruel Summer.
“I just loved the writing so much when I read the first few scripts, and the opportunity to get into the creative team at more of the ground level and to develop a story like this and tweak it for me, my portrayal of this person, that’s the joy of it for me,” Biel advised of her curiosity within the collection at its Los Angeles premiere on Monday. “And then of course the character is so intriguing, she’s so compelling — what happened to her and what she did and how it ended up, it’s beyond belief. If someone wrote this as something fiction you wouldn’t believe it, like it’s too crazy.”
Montgomery, a suburban Texas housewife, was accused of brutally murdering Gore (performed by Melanie Lynskey) with an axe after having an affair with Gore’s husband Allan (performed by Pablo Schreiber). To play the character, Biel donned a brief curly wig and enormous glasses, which she described as “transformative. I didn’t recognize myself, which is exactly what you want when you’re having to put yourself into the shoes of someone that you really truly don’t understand.”
The costume was additionally jarring for these round Biel on set, as her producing companion Michelle Purple joked, “she looked like my 96 year-old grandmother, it was a very surreal experience for me” and showrunner and co-creator Robin Veith teased that after a wig check, Biel “just became another person, and it just felt like so natural on her. I was like, ‘You look like every 20-year-old hipster in my neighborhood right now.’”
Veith and fellow co-creator Nick Antosca started work on Candy after their success on one other true crime story, The Act; the showrunner stated that when embarking on the script within the fall of 2019, “there was something about this story, about a woman’s explosive rage at 10 o’clock in the morning, seemingly over very little, that felt apropos of the #MeToo moment of like, ‘Hey, we can actually talk about this feminine rage, this female rage that we carry around with us that we’re not supposed to acknowledge.’” That thought turned much more well timed, she stated, when the pandemic hit and rage turned common.
And it seems the Candy creatives aren’t the one ones discovering Montgomery’s story ripe for exploring — Love and Death, a HBO Max restricted collection, additionally follows the homicide and is ready for launch this 12 months, with Elizabeth Olsen taking over the lead position.
“I’m actually excited,” Veith stated of the dueling exhibits. “The thing about this story is there’s like 100 ways to tell this story. I’m also the person who watched three Fyre Festival documentaries that came out at the same time, I watched them all back-to-back. I just love different perspectives, so I’m very excited for what they’re doing. We were already well into what we were doing and we had a take and a story that we wanted to tell and that’s what we did.”
Added Antosca, “We were already in the writers room when that was announced, so you just make the show that you want to make. I’ve had similar experiences in multiple past shows where there was a similar project going on at the same time in totally parallel development, so I’m like used to it now. All respect to them and all the other projects, you just make the show that you want to make.”
Also on the premiere, held at Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre, Veith shared her ideas on why scripted true crime variations are having such a second on TV at the moment, pointing to the (largely feminine) true crime viewers who had been introduced as much as be on fixed alert.
“My theory is we enjoy true crime so much because we’re adding to our arsenal,” she stated. “You see something like, ‘Oh I’m not falling for that one!’ It’s just another thing to look out for, our conditioning. And also to pat ourselves on the back like, ‘They didn’t get me!’”
Candy is now streaming over 5 consecutive nights on Hulu.