Some public locations in Kerrville became movie sets last week when Austin film production crews came to film portions of an HBO-Max movie here.
They took over the entire Inn of the Hills and YO Hotel and conference centers including the parking lots, and it drew interested locals to sit for a time in their cars across Junction Highway from the Inn, to watch the goings-on through binoculars.
Line Producer and Executive Producer Michael Klick and his actors and crew were filming a true crime story, so far to be titled “Love and Death” in its 2021-22 version.
The actors on the filming scene also included 30-40 Kerrville-area locals who were hired to be “extras” in the movie, Klick said.
He said the story is set in 1978 to the early 1980s; and when the film is complete, it will be part of a limited production series on television on HBO-Max, based in Los Angeles, Calif.
Asked what he was looking for that convinced him to pick Kerrville as a filming location, Klick said, “Austin wasn’t suitable. It just doesn’t look like the ‘70s anymore; and we found out this hotel (the Inn of the Hills) has been here a very long time. It’s what we needed for the look of the film.”
They took over all 200 rooms and other spaces there. (The Inn was built here in the mid-1960s.)
Klick said they also were doing some filming at Kerrville’s YO Hotel – again, taking over pretty much the entire hotel – and the filming crew and staffers were all staying at the Hampton Inn.
(He probably knows that’s three big check-marks for Kerrville’s CVB and Chamber.)
Filming a new movie
To accomplish this, the production company had to replace anything looking like 2021 with actors in 1970s-80s costumes, and “period cars” in the parking lot.
“We have three tractor-trailers and a warehouse filled with ‘stuff’ to make that happen,” Klick said.
That also was evident to locals as all the Inn’s parking lots including the unpaved area off Guadalupe Street were filled with every imaginable size of trucks and trailers, plus a full-size tour bus that would have accommodated at least three dozen people, in addition to the crew members’ personal cars.
Kerrville hasn’t seen this kind of business many times on this scale, but most of the big rigs, bus and trucks of several sizes were all leased from the same “transportation company,” North Center Productions, Inc., Atlanta, Ga., and with permit numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation.
A crew member explained the 1970s-80s vehicles in the front parking lot at the Inn were trucked in. He said some are “street-legal” while the rest are not.
With all the crew and actors and “props” in place by Nov. 30, filming started that same day and continued in Kerrville through last Friday. And while that was happening, the parking lot was populated by older models of a Ford Mustang, Corvette, an MG, Chevrolet Impala Supersport, an Opel, Dodge, and Chevrolet pickup truck.
Klick said filming was expected to take 104 days, including some done in Austin.
The main cast includes eight to 14 people, to re-tell “the true story of the Friday the 13th murder – why Candy Montgomery killed Betty Gore.”
The main cast members are Elizabeth Olsen as Candy Montgomery; Patrick Fugit as Pat Montgomery, Candy’s husband; Lily Rabe as Betty Gore; and Jesse Plemens as Betty’s husband Allan.
This movie will probably be released for viewing on HBO-Max in early 2022, according to Klick.
The real story
On the night of Friday, June 13, 1980, Wylie, Texas, housewife Candy Montgomery allegedly killed her friend, fellow church member and neighbor Betty Gore with an axe. Both couples were in their late 20 and early 30s, and had young children.
According to some legal history, Montgomery developed feelings for Gore’s husband and they had a four-month affair, which they agreed to end after the birth of the Gores’ second child.
On the night of the murder, Allan Gore was out of town on a business trip and called home, but his wife didn’t answer.
He called his former lover and neighbor, who was babysitting the Gores’ other daughter, and she told him Betty seemed fine when she saw her earlier that day.
He later asked another neighbor to check on her, and that man and others found two cars in the garage and the lights on in the house. Several hours after Betty’s husband suspected something was wrong, a search party entered the house and found the baby girl in her crib and Betty dead on the floor of the utility room.
Police found a bloody footprint at the scene. And reports of the time said Candy quickly became the main suspect.
Some say she got away with murder, because her lawyer set up hypnosis sessions as part of her defense, and the psychiatrist said Candy was suffering from a deep-rooted childhood trauma that triggered immense rage in her as an adult.
In court, she claimed Betty confronted her about the affair with Allan and demanded it end; and attacked Candy first, with an axe in the Gores’ home.
Court records said the victim died from 41 identified wounds. The trial lasted several days and Candy was found not guilty.
Recounting the story
Wylie, in Collin County, is east of Plano and Dallas, and the case was covered by D/FW media. It was a residential community from which many commuted to work in Plano’s telecommunications and manufacturing businesses for substantial salaries. And even in 2016 the entire county had only nine murders.
First, author John Bloom and co-writers wrote a book about this case in 1983-84 titled “Evidence of Love, A True Story of Passion and Death.”
The case and book also inspired a made-for-TV movie, “A Killing in a Small Town” in May 1990, starring Barbara Hershey, Brian Dennehy and Hal Holbrook.
Now HBO-Max has the new “Love and Death” movie in production.