This story about Jessica Biel first appeared in The Limited SeriesMovies issue of TheWraps awards magazine.
The year was 1980 and Wylie Texas was a small town of just over 3000 residents when the grisly ax murder of local housewife Betty Gore rocked the community. And the scandal was only beginning as subsequent days revealed that the primary suspect was her friend Candy Montgomery.
Hulus limited series Candy adapts the true crime tale with Jessica Biel starring as the equal parts effervescent and enigmatic woman who lends her name to the title. Cocreated by Robin Veith and Nick Antosca Candy unfolds its narrative in zigzags all the best to keep its audience unsure of how they feel about the protagonist and her uncanny ability to get what she wants.
Originally it was the writing. I read the first couple of episodes and then started looking into this story which I had never heard of before. At that point I understood where we were going and what had happened but the initial draw was really this elegant nonlinear storytelling with these oddly demented quirky funny tones. Cocreators and showrunners Robin Veith and Nick Antosca have this ability to find a beautiful balance between those things.
And then of course the intrigue of Wow this story is so unbelievable. This woman is so curious and unusual. How did this happen? How did this normal person do this heinous thing? And get away with it?
To Robin my first question was Well whos gonna play Betty? And Im a huge Melanie Lynskey fan so to me it was like this whole amazing package was all coming together all of these elements already in place.
I think the main difference is the care and sensitivity I want to take when stepping into the story of someone who actually existed in the world and who is still existing. This was a story and a time in a communitys life and in particular two families lives that changed everything. Its sensitive. And we want to be careful that were not making a farce out of somebodys life or were not being disrespectful in any way. That were not just creating caricatures of somebodys reallife horrific experience.
Theres a line in the series when Raúl Esparza who plays my lawyer Don Crowder says that theres a room of experience in which Candy lives that we the rest of us will never know. And thats always stuck out to me. Because as much as I can I put myself into a headspace where I can understand being pushed to the brink I can understand the deep amount of rage that I have felt in my life from time to time and repressing my own feelings the way that she did. I can connect with her in that way.
And I think a lot of women and men can connect with those feelings of shame about the choices youve made in your life and guilt about not doing things you wanted to do. Guilt over Well I should be happy but for some reason I just dont feel satisfied.
For me true crime focuses on this human experience that were all living in and on people who are put into these extraordinary moments and have to make a splitsecond decision. And often its a very controversial one. When Im listening to a podcast Im constantly fascinated by humans and the choices we make.
All actors on some level are peoplewatchers and interested in why people behave the way they do. I think thats a universal idea that were all interested in. I think were capable of everything. I think that never say never idea is very true. You just never know how youre going to react if someone is threatening your family or someone is threatening your life.
I really enjoy the development of material. I enjoy working with the writers and having a voice in the characters and their journeys. I think I can come at a script or a story or a character arc with an actors viewpoint which is not better or worse its just different and its so nice to be able to collaborate in that way.
I feel like especially if Im playing a character and able to develop with the writers and talk through all of these moments theyre really able to write to my strengths and my weaknesses. Obviously the character is what the character is but when you have that person in mind and youre working handinhand the actor and writer together I think its a recipe for success.