Jessica Biel shares how she found parallels to her own life in Candy

In 1980, Texas housewife Candy Montgomery was accused of murdering Betty Gore, the wife of the man she was dating. It was a crime no one saw coming, and that was one of the reasons Jessica Biel wanted to play the role in Hulu’s limited series Candy.

Alongside Melanie Lynskey and Pablo Schreiber, Biel completely transformed into the character — wig, glasses and all. She also worked as an executive producer on the gory project.

On this edition of the Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, we talk to Candy star and Executive Producer Jessica Biel about adapting the true crime story. Afterwards, we chat to Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty star Adrien Brody about the role of legendary Los Angeles Lakers coach Pat Riley. Listen below!

Variety’s Emily Longeretta sat down with Biel to talk about starring and executive producing Candy and what brought her to the story:

When you first picked up this script, why were you interested in it?

The non-linear storytelling, just the subtlety, the sense of that suburban oppression, the mundaneness of these people’s lives kind of flew off the page. It was just suffocatingly terrifying at times, and also just plain normal, cool, nice, awesome, and funny. It’s pretty weird until it’s not.

Did you know about the Candy Montgomery case?

I had never heard of the story before, which surprised me as I’m a big true crime fan. I listen to a lot of podcasts; I’m kind of up to speed on true crime stories. As I really started to delve into who she is and how this ending happened the way it did, I got really interested in why and how this very normal woman — seemingly very normal, upstanding pillar of the community, good mother, good ones Wife, nice person – how did she commit this insane act of violence?

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Melanie Lynskey and Jessica Biel in Candy.

How did you design Candy as a villain in a way that audiences still want to see?

She is the suspicious narrator. This person did some crazy things. How can we make the audience fall in love with her? That was my whole goal. I wanted to create that persona that you’re really, really conflicted about. you are with her You’re with her and then, wait a minute, I’m not sure I’m with her. As the story unfolds, you get involved with the plot. You get it on some level. They somehow connect on a human level. In the end, you’re still kind of with her. I wanted to do that. You just have to have empathy. I didn’t play this character as if she was the villain.

As an actor, you had to find a way to tap into them. How did you draw parallels between Candy and yourself?

I think she experiences so many things that every human being has experienced, especially women. That feeling that you always have to be perfect and you have to look a certain way and you have to be the best mom and the coolest mom and the best wife and have the perfect party house. Everything is fabulous all the time. I kinda feel like the women in my family had some kind of version of that, you know, where you just look at everything with a smile. I do that in my life and I work really hard not to do that. I’m working really hard to be truly authentic and it’s getting easier and easier. It was a long journey. I’ve been working on this for many years.

Meanwhile, Biel talks about playing a real person in a fictional project, and now we have one more in this episode.

HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” stars John C. Reilly as Dr. Jerry Buss, who dreams of adding some shine to the NBA by buying the Lakers and recruiting rookie sensation Magic Johnson, played by Quincy Isaiah. and turned it into the hottest ticket in Los Angeles.

Spoiler alert: he did it. But there were many bumps along the way, and that included the journey before ending on the right bus. We know that would ultimately be Pat Riley. But in the first season of the Winners’ Era, Riley, played by Adrien Brody, is still an assistant coach under temporary coach Paul Westhead – and even that role is under threat as Buss’ original coach, the injured Jack McKinney, is nursed back to health .

When Pat Riley first enters Winning Time, he hasn’t yet transformed into the trainer with the Armani suit and slicked-back hair. In 1979, he tries to do color commentary with Lakers announcer Chick Hearn. But eventually he realizes his true calling.

But we’re not there yet, which means we’ll likely see more of Pat Riley’s development in Season 2. Variety’s Michael Schneider spoke to Brody about the unique performance of playing a fictionalized version of Pat Riley. Given the pace of the show, we asked Brody what he knew about how the story would unfold.

“I’ve always loved the Lakers,” says Brody. “I spent many of my years romping around LA as an actor, so I watched a lot of games. They are among the greatest players of all time. Kareem and Magic changed basketball as we know it, that whole Showtime era started with that era that’s obviously portrayed by the show and that fastbreak basketball. I remember Pat Riley from those days. He just left a really indelible impression on me. It’s a funny thing because I couldn’t name many other coaches from that time. So it’s rare for a coach to make an impression.”

Variety’s Awards Circuit podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, is your one-stop shop for lively conversations about the best of film and television. Each week, Awards Circuit features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards and industry headlines; and a lot more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes are released every Thursday and Friday. Jessica Biel shares how she found parallels to her own life in Candy

Charles Jones

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