To portray the moments immediately after her character murders her neighbor, “Love & Death” actress Elizabeth Olsen and executive producer/director Lesli Linka Glatter put together very specific beats, leading up to what Olsen calls a “nightmare” scenario for her character Candy Montgomery.
The Max original series is based on the true story of Texas housewife Candy Montgomery who started an affair with a neighbor (played by Jesse Plemons) and ended up killing his wife (played by Lily Rabe).
The show finds Candy getting into her car after the murder and driving to pick her kids up from school, and in a new episode of TheWrap’s “How I Did It” presented by HBO and Max, Olsen and Glatter broke down the harrowing sequence.
“In the car where she puts the music on trying to find that sense of self again, trying to get back to the fact that this never happened is so intriguing to me,” Glatter said. “And what was going on in Lizzie’s face with covering up the cuts and stopping the bleeding, the planning of that and seeing it all in her face, but there’s almost no dialogue until she pulls into the church parking lot. There were three different parts of the sequence and I had a progression in my mind. I knew that it was important to have music there because that was Candy’s kind of place a peace and freedom, but it wasn’t working, she can’t find that.”
“After you murder someone and are trying to figure out what the next steps to do, I think there’s no worse place you could go or be than a room filled with innocent children,” Olsen added. “I thought of it as a nightmare.”
Glatter played with sound when Candy is shown going into the school, to put viewers inside the character’s head.
“Part of going in with the kids in the lunchroom, I knew that I wanted the sound to be very subjective,” Glatter said. “And being in Candy’s mind in her point of view as she’s looking at her own children, and yes we played with variable frame rates but not a huge amount, just kind of taking the edge off reality. She’s in an altered state that she may never recover from.”
In approaching the series as a whole, Glatter said she wasn’t interested in merely retelling the crime. She wanted to dig into the why.
“For me, to just jump in and tell the story come of the crime, it’s not that interesting. I’m much more interested in why this happened and who these people were and that you have a most unlikely murder,” she said. “I really wanted to show what was in some ways very beautiful and bucolic on the surface and what has a whole different texture underneath. It’s a beautiful picket fence but the paint is peeling. So looking at both sides of that, kind of the cracks in the American Dream.”