The HBO Max miniseries Love & Death will air on April 27 after premiering to much acclaim at the South By Southwest film festival last week. Elizabeth Olsen, who is best known for her portrayal of Wanda Maximoff in the MCU, will take on the very different yet equally complicated role of Candy Montgomery. She is joined by an all-star cast that includes Jesse Plemons (Fargo) as Allan Gore, Patrick Fugit (Babylon) as Pat Montgomery, and Lily Rabe (Shrinking) as Betty Gore.
The true story of the Texas housewife begins with the small town of Wylie in 1980, where Candy and Pat befriend fellow married couple Allan and Betty. Love & Death will follow the two women’s friendship, as well as Candy’s affair with Allan, which leads to the gruesome murder for which she eventually stands trial. Those who follow true crime (or who already watched last year’s Hulu series Candy) already know the ending, but the journey is sure to be worthwhile nonetheless.
Screen Rant spoke to the stars of Love & Death, as well as to director Lesli Linka Glatter, while at the SXSW premiere of the HBO Max Series. Olsen, Plemons, Rabe, and Fugit all shared what drew them to the true crime miniseries, as well as what to expect from their other current and upcoming projects.
Cast and Crew on Love & Death at SXSW
Screen Rant: What draws you to these very complicated women?
Elizabeth Olsen: This show specifically was a tone that I really wanted to explore; small-town people meaning well under absurd circumstances. There’s a lot of stories that I enjoy watching that can have a lot of humor in those kinds of stakes, as well as drama and a real grounded story. So, it was a fun tone to explore for us.
Speaking of small towns, you’ve had to do many an accent in your life. How do you perfect the Texas one?
Elizabeth Olsen: She wasn’t born here, but she lived here for 10 years. I thought of her as a woman who would use it to her advantage in a way, as [some] women do. I kind of tried to pick more of a rhythm to it, but it’s always fun to get really specific with things like that. It’s a good entry point to start work on a character.
For this one, it was a lot. You always go with voice recordings of real people, and it was a fun journey to get there.
I am a Justice for Scarlet Witch person. How do you feel about where she has been left in the Marvel Universe and where she could go?
Elizabeth Olsen: We can do anything with her now! I feel like we’ve done so much. Now, we can really have fun; I feel like there’s a lot more humor to be had with her. She’s often the emotion of a story, and I’m curious to see what we can explore. And hopefully [we can] give her some redemption.
Screen Rant: Because this is true crime, and it didn’t even happen that long ago, did you do research into the real Allan?
Jesse Plemons: Before I even read the script, I read the Texas Monthly article, which was really grabbing and interesting and immediately captivating. And then I read the book, Evidence of Love, which just goes a little more in-depth; you learn about the upbringing and backstory of all the characters. We had all of that. And then just like any other period piece, when you have great production designers and costume designers. All of that helps.
Allan has two lovely ladies in his life. What is it that you think draws him to Candy?
Jesse Plemons: I think Allan and Betty met when they were very young. I feel like, as it happens, sometimes [their relationship slowly became this divide. They kind of ceased being friends and ceased being honest with each other [about] the baggage that they were working through. I think, for Candy and Allan, it was just a friendship more than anything and a space to be honest.
Screen Rant: What drew you to Candy’s story and to playing Betty?
Lily Rabe: Oh, gosh. It’s such an incredible true story. I was so excited to work with David [E. Kelley] again, and I was really excited to work with Lesli. I was a huge fan of hers, and Betty felt like such a wonderful challenge and a departure from other roles that I’ve been able to play. I think it’s the kind of thing you couldn’t really make if it weren’t based on a true story, and I wanted to make it with this group of people.
My job was really just to tell Betty’s story. Of course, I’m on her side, and I feel very protective of her.
I’m also loving you in Shrinking. How does it feel to be Harrison Ford’s daughter?
Lily Rabe: He’s a doll. He is one of my favorite people. I didn’t know what to expect, and I couldn’t have loved him more. It was one of those things where we felt like we’d known each other for a long time or something when we met. I love him; it’s great. He’s a great dad.
Finally, I’ve been missing you in American Horror Story lately. Is there any chance to see you in season 12?
Lily Rabe: You know that I can’t answer anything ever about American Horror Story! I don’t ever want to get in trouble. But I love it. I love Ryan; he’s been such a wonderful partner.
Screen Rant: What is it that drew you to the story of Candy Montgomery?
Patrick Fugit: Well, I got passed a great script from David E. Kelley. What David’s great at is writing dialogue that you feel like human beings would say. Sometimes when you watch stuff nowadays, you’re like, “Wow, it sounds great. But people don’t really talk like that, and people don’t really make those decisions.” And what David’s great at is diving into the humanity of the people involved, and why they’re making decisions the way they are. The way they speak particularly resonated as true, [which] is always a good start.
You voiced Owen in The Last of Us Part II. Have you been watching the show, and will you be joining us for season 2, along with other fellow voice actors?
Patrick Fugit: Neil Druckmann is somebody I keep in touch with. I love that guy, and I would do any type of creative adventure with him that he came up with.
I’m obviously twice as old as Owen; I’m 40, and I think Owen’s 20 in the second part of the second game. So, I’m not playing Owen, nor do I want to. I did that already. Maybe I’ll play one of those Wolf characters, or one of the cultists. I’ve already got the beard; I’ll just shave my head, and I’m good to go. We’ll see.
Screen Rant: What is it about Candy’s story that inspires people to remake it?
Lesli Linka Glatter: I think it’s trying to understand the psychology of this woman. I think it’s incredibly compelling; it’s in a small town, and they did everything right. They got married, had two kids, were in the church choir… Why is it there’s a hole in your heart that’s a mile wide, and [a gap in] your psyche that can’t be filled? What you do to fill that may or may not be the best choice, and I think that exploration is super exciting.
Speaking of small towns, how did you capture the Texas vibes?
Lesli Linka Glatter: I was born in Texas, so it’s very dear to me. It’s a state of big dreams, big possibilities. I think shooting here in Austin and going to small towns outside of Austin [captured] such a sense of the beauty of Texas.
About Love & Death
This riveting drama, written by David E. Kelley and directed by Lesli Linka Glatter, tells the true story of Candy and Pat Montgomery and Betty and Allan Gore – two churchgoing couples enjoying their smalltown Texas life… until an extramarital affair leads somebody to pick up an axe.
Love & Death premieres April 27 on HBO Max.