AUSTIN (KXAN) — Faith, love and lust turns to murder. The story of Candy Montgomery and Betty Gore has hooked true crime junkies, Texans and now Hollywood. A new HBO Max series titled “Love & Death” takes a stab at the Texas axe murder.

The series premiered at the 2023 South by Southwest Film & TV Festival. The cast, which includes Elizabeth Olsen, Jesse Plemons, Lily Rabe, Patrick Fugit, traveled back to Austin, the area where the series was filmed, for the premiere. The audience greeted the crew with a warm return before watching the first hour of the series.

Here are three takeaways from the premiere of “Love & Death.”

The series premise is inspired by a true story

“Love & Death” tells a true crime story based out of Wylie, Texas, a small city located in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

Candy and her husband Pat Montgomery were close with Betty and Allan Gore. The families went to the same church and their children spent a lot of time together but Candy wanted more.

“Would you be interested in having an affair?”

Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery said.
Poster of "Love & Death" at the 2023 South by Southwest Film & TV Festivals at The Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. (KXAN/Ricky Garcia)
Poster of “Love & Death” at the 2023 South by Southwest Film & TV Festival at The Paramount Theater in Austin, Texas. (KXAN/Ricky Garcia)

Candy and Allan agreed to have an affair around 1978. According to Texas Monthly, it ended in 1979 and on Friday, June 13, 1980, Candy killed Betty with an axe. She claimed she acted in self-defense and a jury later acquitted her.

The series is based on the book “Evidence of Love: A True Story of Passion and Death in the Suburbs” by John Bloom and Jim Atkinson and articles from Texas Monthly.

‘Things are not what they appear to be’

Candy, played by Elizabeth Olsen, is charming, controlled and upfront. For me, I couldn’t help but like her.

“You have to go deeper to see what’s really going on. We really tried to look at the ‘how’ and ‘why’ rather than the ‘what,'” executive director Lesli Linka Glatter said.

As a viewer, trying to get answers to those questions will keep you watching, in addition to your natural curiosity. The audience, which included some crew members, responded positively with vocal reactions and cheers following the conclusion of the showing.

Filming in Central Texas

Elizabeth Olsen stars as Candy Montgomery in “Love & Death” coming to HBO Max. (Photo Courtesy of HBO Max)

“I’m happy to be here and to return to the place that we shot this project, it feels really intentional,” said Elizabeth Olsen.

From the first look, there are several identifiable staples from Central Texas. Without sharing too much, here are some of the places used in the series.

  • Palace Theatre in Seguin
  • Main Street in Smithville
  • New Sweden Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manor
  • Williamson County Courthouse in Georgetown

“Love & Death” premieres April 27 on HBO Max.