The current season of television has no shortage of true crime series. So the team behind “Candy,” Hulu’s five-part miniseries that dramatizes the story of Candy Montgomery — who was found guilty of murdering her lover’s wife, Betty Gore — took a unique approach in crafting each episode as a different genre, according to co-creator and executive producer Nick Antosca.
“One episode, there’s a courtroom drama, one episode is a melodramatic affair, and so forth, so that each one would have its kind of unique tone,” Antosca said. “We thought that was appropriate because unlike some true stories that you’re dramatizing where you really can define what happened, in this case… two women walked into a room, one walked out and we only have one of their stories. And there is something at the core of this that is really fundamentally unknowable … so we wanted to construct the season like a prism, and you could see it different ways and through different perspectives as you went through the five episodes.”
Joining Antosca were the actors who play Montgomery and Gore — Jessica Biel and Melanie Lynskey, respectively — showrunner and co-creator Robin Veith, executive producer Michelle Purple and moderator Clayton Davis, Variety‘s senior awards editor, for the Variety Streaming Room presented by Hulu. Lynskey, who made her screen debut playing a real-life teen accused of murder in 1994’s “Heavenly Creatures,” said she felt a lot of “responsibility” in telling the story of Betty Gore. That was especially hard because Gore isn’t around to tell her side of the story, so the show follows Montgomery’s perspective, which Lynskey felt at odds with.
“I just wanted her to feel like a real person,” Lynskey said. “I felt really moved by her situation and the fact that she probably needed help that she just wasn’t getting, that she was very anxious and depressed… Then the murder scene was difficult for me just because I don’t believe that’s what happened. So I had to kind of leave my body a little bit. I had to keep reminding myself, ‘Okay, she’s walking through somebody else’s story. She’s telling somebody’s story right now.’ Because I felt like, physically, I wanted to protest.”
Biel, who is also an executive producer on the series, said she wanted to “respect the privacy” of the real-life Montgomery, who is currently a practicing therapist in Georgia. Although she joked that she considered booking a session with her under a pseudonym, Biel said she takes the subject matter of the series very seriously.
“Honestly, what keeps coming up for me is just women’s issues,” Biel said. “The same issues that are happening back then in 1980 are still happening now, where women are still being told we can do this and we can’t do this, and our bodies are somebody else’s decision making. I feel like it’s so topical. We still have a long way to go… We are going to keep talking about this inability and this societal pressure to be a certain way and be amazing and perfect all the time and do all these things. It’s just wrecking us all on the inside and it’s too much, and we’re just going to keep talking about it until it stops.”
Watch the full conversation in the video above.