Jessica Biel interview: ‘Candy’
Jessica Biel was not interested in playing a two-dimensional version of accused ax murderer Candy Montgomery in the new Hulu limited series “Candy.” The actress/producer strived to tell the disturbing true story of Montgomery’s slaying of fellow housewife Betty Gore as accurately as possible, even with the show’s more dramatic embellishments. “I was hoping that no one would look at this portrayal and go, ‘Oh, they just made her some evil, awful, crazy person. That wasn’t who that person was back then,'” says Biel in an exclusive new interview for Gold Derby. “I’m not trying to create a caricature of somebody.” Watch the full video chat above.
“Candy” recounts the events that led up to the horrifying incident, which included Montgomery getting into an affair with Gore’s husband. As depicted in the show, the affair stemmed from Montgomery’s boredom with her suburban life and her repressed feelings of dissatisfaction, which Biel came to understand as she was making her way into the character. I feel like I tapped into all of those feelings and I grew a giant set of like compassion bags for her,” the actress states. “I understand why she’s so angry and doesn’t know how to access it.”
Biel also transforms for the role, donning oversized glasses and a curly wig, making her nearly unrecognizable even to herself. “I was able to suspend my own belief of my own life even more than normal because I looked at myself in the mirror and felt my hair,” she explains. With the series taking place in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Montgomery is often wearing pastel suits, which felt familiar to the actress. “I looked down at myself and I looked like my grandmother,” she recalls. Ironically, the transformation was so significant that when the actress would show up on set out of costume, there were moments when co-workers didn’t even recognize her at first.
While the story of “Candy” was inherently dark, Biel found that she was able to shed her character at the end of the day. “have to let that stuff go and be there in the morning to make oatmeal, have a smile on my face for them,” says the actress, who has two kids with husband Justin Timberlake. She observes that at least in that respect, she’s not far off from Montgomery in having to fulfill her responsibilities as a mother every day. She quips, “Maybe I’m more like her than I thought.”