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Love & Death's Brutal Murder Scene Put Elizabeth Olsen In A Scary Position

So much of the true crime genre is spent waiting for the other shoe to drop. After all, the crime in question is what audiences show up for. HBO Max's "Love & Death" takes its sweet time building up to the inevitable murder, using the first three episodes as a lengthy exposition and character study of its to-be killer, the suburban Texas housewife Candy Montgomery (Elizabeth Olsen). When the axe finally falls in Episode 4, it falls hard — 41 times, to be exact.

For Elizabeth Olsen, filming the climactic murder scene with Lily Rabe elicited some unexpected emotions. "I don't know how our brains react in such extreme situations, because I've never been put in them, or how our bodies do in survival mode," the actress told Harper's Bazaar. "I know that when we filmed the first full take of the fight sequence from beginning to end ... my whole body was vibrating, and there was a crazy, terrifying adrenaline rush."

Olsen struggled to film the violent scenes with her pregnant co-star

"Love & Death" is based on Candy Montgomery's 1980 murder of her neighbor Betty Gore. As such, attention to detail was crucial when it came to recreating the grisly crime. "We tried really hard to make everything specific to the lacerations that were discussed in the trial, when it came to shooting that," Elizabeth Olsen explained to Harper's Bazaar.

Capturing the physicality of the act, however, was a bigger pill to swallow. It didn't help that Olsen's co-star, Lily Rabe, was six months pregnant at the time. "It was awful," Olsen recalled to The Hollywood Reporter. "She had a double. And they also could erase [her belly] in post. But she was in a little shirt with a six-month belly!"

Rabe, for her part, apparently relished participating in the scenes. "She really wanted to do everything," Olsen continued. "Lily is a really physically strong human being, and so it was like real tension, physically." Despite the considered choreography and use of stunt doubles, the physicality of the hand-to-hand combat — plus the discomfort of facing off against a pregnant person — weighed heavily on Olsen. "It felt kind of scary at times," she admitted.

For Olsen, making contact with Rabe's body — even if it was with a rubber axe — was a bridge too far. "I tapped out and was like, 'You're going to have to do this with my stunt double.'"