Elizabeth Olsen couldn't bring herself to swing an ax at pregnant Love & Death costar Lily Rabe

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Love & Death. 

Elizabeth Olsen is no stranger to fighting bad guys within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she drew the line at going toe-to-toe with a then-pregnant Lily Rabe on the set of Love & Death.

The limited series is based on the true story of Candy Montgomery (Olsen), a Texas housewife who was accused — and later found not guilty — of murdering her friend Betty Gore (Rabe) with an ax in 1980. When it came time to shoot the harrowing scene, Olsen explained that she "tapped out" of parts of its grisly choreography because it required her to swing a rubber ax at her expecting costar.

"Lily was six months pregnant. It was awful. She had a double. And they also could erase [her belly] in post. But she was in a little shirt with a six-month belly!" she told The Hollywood Reporter. "It was crazy." (Rabe revealed that she had quietly welcomed her third child with husband Hamish Linklater last June.)

Elizabeth Olsen and Lily Rabe in 'Love & Death'
Elizabeth Olsen and Lily Rabe in 'Love & Death'

Jake Giles Netter/HBO Max Elizabeth Olsen and Lily Rabe in 'Love & Death'

While she was hesitant about filming the brutal scene, Olsen said that Rabe was fully committed and "really wanted to do everything."

"Lily is a really physically strong human being, and so it was like real tension, physically," she said. "There was an element where I felt safe because we had choreography, but there was an element where I didn't want to do everything."

The Marvel star also noted that there's a huge difference between striking someone with an ax and wiggling her fingers to activate Wanda Maximoff's powers.

"My experience with more fight sequences isn't hand-to-hand fighting. And so it felt kind of scary at times," she said. "There were moments where Lily asked me to, with the rubber ax, make contact with her body. And I tapped out and was like, 'You're going to have to do this with my stunt double.'"

Speaking with EW in December, series director and executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter described the true crime series as an "American tragedy."

She continued, "Here is a young woman who gets married at 20 years old, and she's done everything right: She has the kids, she has the family, but she has a hole in her psyche that's a mile wide, and she makes a very bad choice on how to fill it."

The series — which also stars Jesse Plemons, Patrick Fugit, and Krysten Ritter — is currently airing weekly on HBO Max.

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