Melanie Lynskey Shares Why She Relates To Her Character In Candy - Exclusive

New Zealand-born actress Melanie Lynskey is not one to shy away from a professional challenge — in fact, she is known for her memorable portrayals of complicated, multifaceted characters. But in her latest role, in Hulu's true-crime miniseries "Candy," she faces a unique challenge — playing a character who's in fact dead (and alluded to off-screen) throughout much of the story. In "Candy," Lynskey plays Betty Gore, a lonely, unhappy suburban Texas housewife whose gruesome real-life murder in 1980 upended the seemingly safe and drama-free community in which she lived.


In a lot of true crime narration, the spotlight is often on the killer, rather than the one killed (most of us can name at least one serial killer, but coming up with the name of a victim may be a bit harder). But "Candy" paints both the accused and the victim in sharp detail, and by interweaving the story's timelines, it allows us to see not only the aftermath of her murder, but what Betty Gore was like as a living person — a deeply vulnerable woman with very real emotional needs. Something about Betty Gore resonated deeply with Lynskey, and as she shared in this exclusive interview with The List, she shared what she and her latest character have in common.

The more Melanie Lynskey learned about her character, the more she liked her

Melanie Lynskey was first drawn to "Candy" by the compelling writing. "The scripts were so detailed in all the moments," Lynskey said. And while "Candy" changes up some of the historical details for dramatic purposes, Lynskey and many of the other cast members took the time to educate themselves about the real case and the characters they would be portraying, even arranging a Zoom meeting with Jim Atkinson, who'd written a book about Gore's murder.


In so doing, Lynskey found some relatable surprises in her research. During the timeframe depicted in "Candy," Betty Gore is seen as profoundly lonely — insecure about her looks and her marriage and desperate to be accepted by the women in her church, who were apparently her only social group — but she wasn't always like this. "Something that was sort of surprising to me that was in the book, and Jim also talked about, was that she was quite popular in college," Lynskey shared. "She was always quite a shy person, but she had a lot of boyfriends, a lot of male attention. She could kind of have her pick of anybody. And I loved that."

Melanie Lynskey found Betty Gore personally relatable

When one thinks of actors, they might assume they are extroverts. Upon seeing a kid who can't stop talking or making faces, adults are likely to smile and say, "He/she is going to be an actor someday!" And this makes sense — it takes serious social confidence to be able to get on a stage in front of hundreds of people (or in front of a camera in front of a team of picky directors and producers), and make yourself the center of their attention.


From all the critical acclaim she's received in her career, it's clear Melanie Lynskey is quite good at this, too. But surprisingly, she doesn't see herself as an extrovert. Instead, she related deeply to Betty Gore's shyness and vulnerability. "I felt very moved by a lot of aspects of her personality," she said. "She was a very shy person who felt quite awkward in a lot of situations, which is how I feel myself. And I just felt like I knew her, kind of on a cellular level. I just was like, 'I understand this person.'"

"Candy" premiered on Hulu Monday, May 9, which kicked off a five-night event leading up to the finale on Friday, May 13.