Elizabeth Olsen is returning to television, but not as the Scarlet Witch this time. The WandaVision star has signed on to play a real-life ax murder in a new HBO Max limited series, Love and Death. The series was written by Big Little Lies writer David E. Kelly and will be directed by Lesli Lina Glatter, an Emmy nominee for her work on Homeland.
Olsen will play Candy Montgomery, who killed her neighbor, fifth-grade teacher, Betty Gore, with an axe on June 13, 1980 in Wylie, a Dallas suburb. Montgomery was having an affair with Gore's husband, and she hit Gore with the axe 41 times. She pleaded self-defense during the trial but was acquitted of murder. Kelley's script is inspired by the book Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs by John Bloom and Jim Atkinson, and a series of articles from Texas Monthly titled "Love & Death in Silicon Prairie."
Love and Death will be produced by Lionsgate, and executive produced by Kelley through David E. Kelley Productions, and Blossom Films' Nicole Kidman and Per Saari. Scott Brown and Megan Creydy will also executive produce for Texas Monthly. Mathew Tinker, Michael Klick, Helen Verno, and Glatter are also executive producers on the project.
"This is a gripping story about the frustrations and desires of two women in a small town that culminates in a terrible act of violence," HBO Max Head of Original Content Sarah Aubrey said in a statement. "We are thrilled to be partnering with David, Lesli, Nicole, and Per and incredibly fortunate to have Elizabeth at the center of our story to bring out all the layers of Candy that make this story so unforgettable."
“We cannot imagine a more perfect artist to play the leading role of Candy than Elizabeth Olsen. Her talent, charisma, and energy can bewitch audiences like no other," Lionsgate's Kevin Biggs added. "We’re proud to be collaborating with a world-class creative team of Lesli, David, and Nicole on this thrilling and intriguing series and to bring another exciting premium property to our partners at HBO Max."
This is not the first time Montgomery's story has been dramatized. In 1990, Barbara Hershey starred in A Killing in a Small Town, which was inspired by the crime. In December, Hulu landed Candy, a limited series from Universal and 20th Television starring Elisabeth Moss as Montgomery. There have not been any updates on that project since December, so there could be a race between the competing Montgomery projects to get out first.