NEW YORK (AP) — Viewers who tune in to Thursday’s episode of “Candy,” Hulu’s new series starring Jessica Biel, will recognize a familiar face: Biel’s husband, Justin Timberlake.
The singer and actor plays an agent investigating the murder that the series focuses on.
Biel, co-executive producer on the project, says Timberlake first approached his producing partner, Michelle Purple, expressing his interest in participating.
“Somehow they had this whole plan. I didn’t even know at first. Then I thought he was joking and he was like, ‘No really, I want to do this.’ And everything after went to the races. They were trying on a wig for him, it was a lot of fun and a really good surprise.”
Biel admits that at first he worried if their dynamic would “carry over to work,” but that quickly disappeared.
“In fact, I felt complete peace when he was around. For example, I knew he was going to keep that kind of safe space for me to work the way he needed to and be nonjudgmental, open and free. And he gave me the freedom to improvise, something he’s very good at and I’m less comfortable with.”
In “Candy,” Biel plays Candy Montgomery, an outgoing young wife and mother who attends church in Texas and reads romance novels voraciously. She seems to have it all, but she’s bored, so she starts an affair with a man from her town (played by Pablo Schreiber) and ends up killing her wife, Betty, with an axe. Montgomery pleaded not guilty to the crime, and a jury sided with her; some even said they never liked Betty.
The story is based on a true case from 1980 and is of interest in Hollywood at the moment. Elizabeth Olsen recently finished filming another version, the HBO Max limited series “Love and Death.”
Melanie Lynskey, who plays Betty in “Candy,” hopes the story will spark sympathy for the victim and make people see how the trial was a popularity contest.
“As someone who has had a hard time adjusting for much of my life since I was a child, I really responded to that and how deeply unfair it was,” the actress said.
Timberlake isn’t the only surprise casting on the show: Lynskey’s husband, Jason Ritter, plays the partner of the singer’s character. In a memorable moment, the two recreate the crime as part of their investigation.
Biel credits “Candy” co-creator and showrunner Robin Veith for “the idea of having Jason as well and making these two partners in crime. It stimulated us,” Biel said.
In the series, Biel wears a wig with short curly brown hair that has drawn a lot of attention. The actress herself jokes that it’s a similar hairstyle to the one her husband had in the late ’90s when she was in the boy band NSYNC.
“He definitely had that hairstyle,” Biel said. “I always ask her, ‘Please grow back those beautiful curls.’ I love that curly hair. I know, it’s so weird. We used to laugh about it.”
AP reporter Mike Cidoni Lennox in Los Angeles contributed to this report.
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