Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Love And Death - Everything You Need To Know

Some true-crime stories are so shocking and so scandalous that they've inspired multiple films and TV series. For example, the tragic tale of Sylvia Likens was told in both "An American Crime" and "The Girl Next Door." The saga of Michael and Kathleen Peterson was captured in a documentary series and a fictionalized show, both called "The Staircase." And Jeffrey Dahmer has inspired his fair share of cinematic offerings, from "My Friend Dahmer" to Ryan Murphy's controversial Netflix series.

However, the sad and sordid life of Candy Montgomery — a story of small-town sex and ax murder — has given way to not one, not two, but three TV adaptations. The first was a television movie in 1990, starring Barbara Hershey in the title role. The second came in 2022, with a Hulu series starring Jessica Biel. Now, this tale of Lone Star lust and loneliness is coming to HBO Max in 2023 with "Love and Death." But who will be involved in this upcoming drama, and when can we expect to see things get all bloody? Well, let's dig deeper into what we know so far about "Love and Death."

When will Love and Death be released?

The bizarre tale of Candy Montgomery has captivated people for quite some time — from the events of the actual murder and the subsequent trial to the Texas Monthly articles that chronicled her story to the various shows that have depicted Candy's ax-wielding ways. And if you're ready to see a new version of that tale play out on the screen, you won't have to wait very long. "Love and Death" will be hitting HBO Max on April 27, 2023, with three episodes dropping that very Thursday. The subsequent four episodes will air weekly, leading to seven installments revolving around those two unstoppable forces — death and Texas.

What is the plot of Love and Death?

Drawing inspiration both from the book "Evidence of Love" and the Texas Monthly articles "Love & Death in Silicon Prairie," HBO Max's "Love and Death" will tell the real-life story of Candy Montgomery. A Texas housewife who seemingly had the perfect life, Candy is far from being a happy homemaker. As director Lesli Linka Glatter put it to Vanity Fair, "This is about women and men in this time period — they did everything right. They got married at 20, had kids. [Candy's husband] Pat was a wonderful supporter and scientist. They moved to the suburbs. They built their dream house. Then why do you feel so profoundly empty inside? Why is there a hole in your heart and psyche a mile wide? She makes a horrible choice how to fill that void."

That choice involves starting an affair with the married Allan Gore, a member at Candy's church. As the affair escalates, things take a vicious, bloody turn in 1980 — a turn involving an ax. Obviously, the tale is based on a true story, one that inspired a pretty recent Hulu miniseries. Nevertheless, we don't want to give anything away if you're not familiar with the actual events or haven't seen the show starring Jessica Biel. If you're coming in cold, just expect things to get very dark. Of course, it won't be all doom and gloom. The series will be weaving in elements of humor and satire, with stars Elizabeth Olsen and Jesse Plemons comparing it to Nicole Kidman's "To Die For" and the works of the Coen brothers.

Who is starring in Love and Death?

To pull off a role as twisted yet tragic as Candy Montgomery, you need an actress who can bring layers of nuance and pathos, humor and horror. And "Love and Death" has cast one of the very brightest talents in the game, with Elizabeth Olsen playing the lead role of Candy.

Olsen first broke onto the scene with a powerhouse performance as a cult victim/escapee in "Martha Marcy Mae Marlene," but she really grabbed mainstream attention with her turn as Wanda Maximoff in the MCU, where she gave an especially emotional performance in Disney+'s "WandaVision." And with impressive roles in projects like "Wind River" and "Ingrid Goes West," we're incredibly psyched to see what Olsen brings to the upcoming HBO Max series.

Across from Olsen, we've got Jesse Plemons as Allan Gore, Candy's churchgoing paramour. Most will remember Plemons from "Breaking Bad," where he stole the show as the smiling psychopath Todd Alquist. Since then, Plemons has earned an Oscar nomination for his performance in "The Power of the Dog" and has appeared in everything from "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" and "Windfall" to "Black Mirror," FX's "Fargo," and "Jungle Cruise."

Patrick Fugit will play Candy's husband, Pat Montgomery. Fans of Cameron Crowe will recognize Fugit as young Rolling Stone reporter William Miller in "Almost Famous," and he's also worked on projects like "Outcast," "My Heart Can't Beat Unless You Tell It To," and "The Last of Us Part II." Lily Rabe will portray Betty Gore, whose husband is cheating with Candy Montgomery. Rabe has been a long-time player on "American Horror Story," and she'll be joined by the likes of Krysten Ritter ("Jessica Jones"), Tom Pelphrey ("Ozark"), Keir Gilchrist ("Atypical"), and Elizabeth Marvel ("Homeland").

Who is writing Love and Death?

"Love and Death" is based on a series of Texas Monthly articles and a book written by Jim Atkinson and John Bloom (better known to horror fans as Joe Bob Briggs), but who's adapting it for the small screen? Well, it's none other than one of the most prolific showrunners in recent memory. David E. Kelley is both writing and executive producing on the show, and chances are pretty good you've seen one of Kelley's creations in the past.

Kelley co-created the series that launched Neil Patrick Harris to fame, with the young star playing an equally young doctor in "Doogie Howser, M.D." He also developed "Ally McBeal," the legal dramedy starring Calista Flockhart as a lawyer caught in a love triangle and subject to bizarre fantasies involving dancing babies. Kelley created "The Practice," a hit series set at a Boston law firm, where the associates put a high priority on defending anyone who walks through their doors, even when there's no big payday involved. "The Practice" eventually gave way to Kelley's spinoff, "Boston Legal," which paired James Spader with William Shatner, with the two playing eccentric attorneys who often find themselves clashing.

Of course, Kelley didn't stop making hits after "Boston Legal." He also gave us "Big Little Lies," the HBO miniseries about moms and murder that starred heavy hitters like Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep. Kelley has also brought us series like "Mr. Mercedes," "Nine Perfect Strangers," "Big Sky," and "The Lincoln Lawyer." In other words, Kelley knows a thing or two about crafting quality TV, and we can't wait to see what he has in store with "Love and Death."

Who is directing Love and Death?

While she might not be a household name, Lesli Linka Glatter has worked on some of the most prestigious TV shows of the past 20 years, and she's bringing her directing talents to "Love and Death." She's perhaps most famous for her work on two particular series — "Homeland" and "Mad Men." In fact, she earned seven Emmy nominations for her work on the aforementioned spy thriller, and she also earned an Emmy nod for helming "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency," widely considered one of "Mad Men's" very best episodes.

And hey, do you like sexy vampires? Glatter worked on "True Blood." Big fan of shooting zombies? She helmed an episode of "The Walking Dead." Enjoy fast-talking, well-intentioned politicians hanging out at the White House? She directed eight episodes of "The West Wing." Some of her other credits involve minor shows you've probably never heard of like "ER," "Gilmore Girls," "Pretty Little Liars," "Justified," "House," "The Leftovers," and even four episodes of "Twin Peaks."

As for "Love and Death," Glatter directed five episodes of the series (we're not sure who directed the other two yet) and served as an executive producer. Speaking to Vanity Fair, she listed films like "Election," "Fargo," and "The Accused" as influences on the series, and she's the perfect fit for the HBO Max show, as Glatter hails from the Lone Star State, just like Candy Montgomery. Glatter has also said that she intends to show all sides of Candy — not vindicating her but also not turning her into a monster. She plans on showing Montgomery as a complicated woman who feels incredibly trapped. "Nothing is as it appears to be," she told People about her true-crime drama. "Hopefully you will feel pulled in many directions in terms of your emotional ride here."

Is there a trailer for Love and Death?

The official trailer for "Love and Death" opens with a lonely Candy Montgomery, confused and frustrated, letting us know there's serious trouble in paradise. "Men, they get to go to their jobs," the unhappy housewife says. "We just stay home, and that's supposed to be enough." When her husband mentions that whatever she has, Candy always wants more, she responds, "Yes, I do. And I'm not going to apologize for it."

Despite her seemingly picture-perfect life — the husband, the kids, the nice house — she's completely unsatisfied ... until she spots Allan Gore in church. "Would you be interested in having an affair?" she asks. From there, we watch the two steal away for little moments of bliss, but the center cannot hold — the stress is building, the tension is mounting — and then it all spills over. Be warned — the rest of the trailer spoils what happens, and if you want to go into this cold, you might want to avoid watching. However, the trailer looks chilling, and Olsen's performance looks to be one of the best of her career.

Will Love and Death be inspired by Candy?

Every so often, something weird happens in Hollywood. Two studios release back-to-back projects that are shockingly similar. For example, take "Deep Impact" and "Armageddon," "The Prestige" and "The Illusionist," or "Mirror Mirror" and "Snow White and the Huntsman." The same thing happens in the world of TV too. "Love and Death" was given the official greenlight in May 2021, but about a year before, it was announced that "Candy" was in development with Elisabeth Moss playing the title role. So not only were there two series about Candy Montgomery in production at the same time, they both featured stars with basically the same name — Elizabeth vs. Elisabeth.

Of course, Moss was eventually replaced by Jessica Biel, and "Candy" hit Hulu on May 9, 2022, co-starring Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore and Pablo Schreiber as Allan Gore. Critics were largely impressed with the Hulu crime drama, giving it a 72% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 46 reviews. However, was anyone working on "Love and Death" influenced by the show that beat them to air? Well, speaking with Vanity Fair, Allan Gore actor Jesse Plemons admitted he'd seen some of the Hulu series and praised Melanie Lynskey's performance. Elizabeth Olsen, on the other hand, has avoided the Hulu series so far. "I don't usually feel this protective of [characters]," the actor said, adding, "Whatever I created in my imagination, in our show, felt really personal." So expect Olsen's interpretation of Candy Montgomery to be wholly her own and separate from the character Jessica Biel brought to life for "Candy."