‘Candy’: How Melanie Lynskey Prepared to Play Betty Gore — ‘Not Sugarcoating Anything’

Hulu‘s Candy tells the shocking and true story of the 1980 axe murder of Betty Gore, a housewife in Wylie, Texas. The five-part series begins with the day of the murder, showcasing the actions of Betty’s killer, a close friend and fellow housewife named Candy Montgomery, immediately after the crime. However, the following episodes take a step back to observe Betty’s and Candy’s lives before that day. In a recent interview, Betty Gore’s actor, Melanie Lynskey, shared how she respectfully approached her character in Candy.

Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore in Hulu's Candy.
Melanie Lynskey as Betty Gore in Hulu’s ‘Candy.’ | Tina Rowden/Hulu

‘Candy’ showcased Betty Gore’s life leading up to her death

In Candy, viewers saw Betty Gore’s life with her husband, Allan (Pablo Schreiber), in the year prior to Betty’s death. The two shared a daughter, Christina (whose name is Alisa in real life), and Allan traveled often for his work. Meanwhile, Betty worked as a grade-school teacher.

As Texas Monthly noted in its reports on the case, Betty often felt lonely during Allan’s travels, and she didn’t enjoy her job. Betty wanted to have another child with Allan, but their “sex life had dwindled to almost nothing.” Still, they began fertility planning and tried Marriage Encounter, and Betty became pregnant. By this time, though, Allan had already begun an affair with Candy Montgomery (Jessica Biel), whom he met at a church function.

Betty’s feelings of loneliness continued through her pregnancy, and she later experienced post-partum depression. Candy had been a close friend to Betty in recent months; however, their friendship fizzled out when Candy stopped seeing Allan due to Allan’s guilt.

On Friday, June 13, 1980, Candy visited Betty’s home to pick up a swimsuit for Betty’s daughter. Betty, having learned about the affair, confronted Candy with an axe. The two engaged in a struggle until Candy took the axe and struck Betty. Still, Betty survived and threw herself in Candy’s way. Candy then took the axe and struck Betty 41 times, killing her.

Allan had been away on business during the incident. He called Betty several times throughout the day, but she never picked up. He then had his neighbors check on Betty, and they found her dead.

Melanie Lynskey wanted to make sure Betty Gore would ‘feel represented’

While attending the Candy premiere in Los Angeles, Melanie Lynskey spoke with Variety about her approach to Betty Gore. Betty was a real person, and Lynskey wanted to respect her by portraying her life as accurately as possible.

“I wanted to make sure I was playing as true as I could version to life of her,” Lynskey shared. “Which meant not sugarcoating anything that she went through. I think it’s an important conversation to have, she had postpartum depression, and she really was struggling.”

To make sure she got the story right, Lynskey spoke with “an investigative journalist” who studied the case and wrote a book.

“He answered a lot of questions I had,” she revealed.

Still, Lynskey admitted how challenging it was to capture Betty’s life when Betty was not around to share her side.

“It’s tough when you’re playing a real person who’s not alive anymore to tell you how they feel. And I hope that I did OK,” the actor added. “I hope that she feels represented.”

How ‘Candy’s creators carefully approached the true crime case

One of Candy‘s creators, Robin Veith, agreed that there’s a “responsibility” to the real people involved in true crime stories. Like Lynskey, Veith assured to Variety that the Candy team did extensive research on the case before creating it. That meant talking to the reporters who were on the scene on the day of the crime, collecting documents from the trial, and more.

“We devoured as much as we could and interviewed as many people as we could and just did our best to give an honest representation of what we were able to gather,” Veith said.

Candy is now streaming on Hulu. New episodes drop daily until Friday, May 13.

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