The cast of Love & Death descended onto the SXSW stage to premiere their new HBO MAX series. Onstage with his castmates, Jesse Plemons (“Breaking Bad“) was a shadow of his former self, showing off a remarkable weight loss since he filmed the series.
Co-stars in this drama about the Candace Montgomery murder of her lover’s wife that took place in 1980 were Elizabeth Olsen and Lily Rabe. HBO Max will be broadcasting the 6-part series in April 2023.
True credit for the story of an affair gone horribly wrong goes to Texas Monthly articles that the Texas-born director (Lesli Linka Glatter) had read, as had Kelley, whose many television shows include “L.A. Law,” “The Practice,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.” “Allie McBeal,” “Picket Fences,” and “Chicago Hope.”
The film starts in September 1978, and, as we were told in the Q&A following the showing of the first episode, the series will delve deeply into the town and its residents before covering the same ground that was covered in the 1990 film “Murder in a Small town” or the 2022 Jessica Biel -starring vehicle “Candy.” Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs, a book examining the case and events following the trial, written by Dallas-based journalists John Bloom and Jim Atkinson, was published in January 1984. The HBO Max series will be released in April (2023).
Kelley, onstage after the screening, said, “If this story wasn’t true, you couldn’t make it up.” The creators commented on the lists of “dos” and “don’ts” that the couple makes up prior to embarking on their sexual adventures. They are straight from the original lists the cheating lovers made up before embarking on their affair. Not to ruin the suspense of this story told so many times, but, although Candace Montgomery bludgeoned Betty Gore 41 times with a wood-hewing axe, she was found innocent on October 30, 1980, by a jury of 9 women and 3 men in McKinney, Texas.
The director said, “This is not a show about failing marriages. It’s about so much more.” “To be honest and have empathy, we didn’t want it to be just a true crime drama.”
The interviewer from “Elle” magazine, asked regarding the crime, ”How could this happen?”
The answer, given by the director, was “Reality creeps up on our expectations. It’s really about how boredom and reality can creep into a long-time marriage.” Another cast member said, “We don’t play the ending (i.e., the murder). We play the moment.”
Jesse Plemons (“Friday Night Lights,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Power of the Dog”)—in real-life married to Kirsten Dunst and looking completely different onstage than he does in the film due to a huge weight loss— said, “They just wanted to be seen and heard. There is no hiding from what is true in yourself.” One scene that illustrates this is when Candace Montgomery attempts to snuggle with her spouse, saying that she knows that “Snugglepuss” was his favorite character. Her husband squirms free of Candy’s embrace and corrects her. “It’s Snagglepuss.”
I felt as though I had already seen multiple adaptations of this murder because I had. This one will cover ground already covered several times before. If you aren’t at all familiar with the crime, this one will be an in-depth examination. It may not have been re-examined and/or re-litigated as often as the JFK assassination, but the decade is young