Editor’s Note: The following contains some spoilers for Yellowjackets.
Drama series The Showtime Yellow jacket is part survival, part psychological horror, and part eponymous telling the story of a group of high school girls soccer players who survive a plane crash deep in the wilderness and must do the unspeakable to survive long enough to be rescued. At the same time, we also see young women who overcame that challenge 25 years later, each facing what they went through in different ways, but now all fighting evil together. their demons.
In this one-on-one interview with Collider, Melanie Lynskey (who plays Shauna, a woman stuck in a life she doesn’t want with the former prom king and a daughter who wants almost nothing to do with her) talked about the many layers this show takes must discover, how much she has been told. How will the story unfold, what makes her excited to play this character, collaborating with Sophie Nélisse (who played the teenage Shauna) as they shared about the role, that poor rabbit, the guilt Shauna had to live with, and the earliest career experiences she had that made an impression on her him, as an actor.
Collider: I am completely hooked, captivated, and captivated by this series, this story, and these women. There are so many layers and so much to dig into, that it must be interesting as an actor.
MELANIE LYNSKEY: Oh my gosh, yes. There are many different classes to it. That’s what really interests me. It’s scary to log into something that could potentially be a number of years. And so it’s nice to know that there’s enough there to keep exploring, as the seasons roll on.
As a viewer, it’s easy to see why you want to do this, but what really sold you on it, when you don’t have all that information to go on, you don’t know what the answer is. to the mystery, and you do not know where the characters will go in the end?
LYNSKEY: Honestly, they gave me a lot of information when they recommended the program to me because I was so nervous and I wanted to make sure they had a plan. You can write a great pilot and have a great idea, but not really know where to execute it. That is my concern. I just thought, “Oh my, I really hope they know there’s a lot of characters to watch and a lot of plots to follow,” and they’ve got the answer to everything. It’s very meticulous and very well thought out, and that’s really impressive. I just trusted them and I was right because, for the whole season, the writing was really, really good and really, really strong. She felt real to me, and like someone was trying so hard to hold it together and just couldn’t do so and made bad choices. As an actor, terrible choices are always exciting.
One of the things that impressed me the most about this was that not only were there many characters, but there were twice as many characters because we were watching them twice. We really felt like getting to know everyone, even though there were so many characters, and that was really impressive.
LYNSKEY: Yes, I totally agree. I think that’s a good point. There are times when I’m reading a new script and a smaller character will have a line and I’ll burst out laughing when I realize how well that line fits the character. I said, “God, everyone is so well drawn to the point that you know more peripheral people than it really, really good when and you really care about people. I think it’s important when there are high stakes, some survivors and some non-survivors. You really need to really care about everyone there.
I’m very familiar with all of you in the old cast, and they all feel like very different characters than any of you have played. What aspects of this character are you most looking forward to delving into because they are things you didn’t have to do in a character before?
LYNSKEY: Yes. It’s always been something that scares me, and I know it’s going to be the biggest challenge. There’s a hard part about her, and sometimes a tough and almost mean-spiritedness, that I get really excited about. I really don’t have that in my life and I don’t need to play it that much. I watched the pilot and second episode with my husband and nanny, and there was a scene where I confronted the reporter and my nanny like, “I never saw you mean. It’s very strange.” But it’s good that she never saw that side of me. She looked at me differently. It was really fun to do something out of the ordinary.
I have to say I’m a little apprehensive about you in this. The moment when your character makes the decision to kill the rabbit and cook it, it’s a bit of a shock. It’s an exciting moment because she makes this decision and then decides to tell her family about it but then pretends she’s joking about it. What do you think about her, that she makes that decision and does it and tells the truth about it, but then tries to cover it up so it doesn’t sound terrible?
LYNSKEY: It’s the exact perfect encapsulation of everything Shauna is. She has a very dark instinct. She has a survival instinct and a vengeful side towards her. A rabbit is making love to her garden, so she will kill it and use the rabbit. She’s mad at her husband and she’s mad at her daughter, so she wants that moment of shock when they’re horrified that they’re eating something they don’t think they’re eating, but then she doesn’t want to deal with it. decide. the long-term consequences of people really getting mad at her, so she said, “Oh, never mind. That’s a lie.” She really doesn’t want anyone to get upset or deal with any kind of confrontation. She’s a very interesting person. That’s not how I take it on my own. carry.
Should we worry about what else she might be up to? Is this a gateway for her to become a serial killer?
LYNSKEY: There’s something very dark about her. I feel a little nervous, as someone who has to play her, about what the truth holds. There were times when I really had to let go. There is a freedom in letting go of the idea that everyone has to be lovable in every moment. They do not. People make selfish decisions and bad decisions, and people are dark.
What was the biggest challenge for you, in keeping track of what was happening to her as a child and how did that affect her when you played her? Are there ongoing conversations with Sophie Nélisse about teenage Shauna? How did you follow that?
LYNSKEY: The screenwriters were really good at giving me all the information they could. And Sophie and I regularly talk about things we each know, in case there’s a piece the other doesn’t have, so we can put them together. The great thing about the way the scripts are written is that what is happening in the past, very much reflects the time, in a way, what is happening in the present. There are times with my performance, I’ll think, “What’s young Shauna going through right now?” I don’t want to take the performance in a different direction. You want it to feel emotionally integrated.
Shauna’s family life is not so smooth. What do you think explains that? It’s just that she has all the other stuff she has to deal with and she just can’t cope with what’s happening, right in front of her?
LYNSKEY: I don’t think that’s exactly the life she chose. She’s there for the guilt of a survivor. And I think she’s here. I think she fell in love with Jeff to some extent, but she also really underestimated him. She made a decision about who he was and didn’t allow him to grow at all, in her eyes. She’s so stuck in a particular time and place, emotionally, that she assumes he is too. I don’t think she enjoys being a mother. I don’t think it brought much to her life. She wants some closeness with her daughter, but she doesn’t know how to get it either, and I don’t know if she really wants that. And then, her daughter was someone so different from her. It’s all about missed connections and someone being dishonest about who they really are.
Shall we start seeing her as someone who wants answers to what’s going on, or do you think she’s someone who doesn’t want to get involved and just wants to completely forget what happened before?
LYNSKEY: I think she has a lot of guilt about what happened. She felt very embarrassed because it was a subject she could barely talk about. She hasn’t talked about it with her husband yet. I think she’d rather let it be buried. She just wanted to never have to talk about it again. And then, like with all hurt, it reappeared. It comes down to how you relate to people. It’s really popping up again because people are being blackmailed. Someone knows and she’s forced to deal with it, but I think she doesn’t want to.
The earliest experience you had on set that was really positive and a really memorable one for you, that you felt like you really learned from and that was the turning point for you, in your career. career and as an actor?
LYNSKEY: My first professional acting job was Creatures in the sky, so I had to work with Peter Jackson. I don’t really know where you’re going from there, but a lot of it is literally me learning. They gave me a free day of photography where they taught me how to mark, how to look through your camera, and how to find your light. They taught me how to be a movie actor. I’m learning, and I’ve learned a lot from Kate [Winslet] because she has been working for a long time as a professional.
Also, I think there’s a moment in the movie Broken glass, it’s a movie I did in 2003. Something about being part of that collective and being part of something so clever and so well written, that was the moment for me. , “This is how I want to feel forever. I want to feel this way about the work that I do. “That’s not always possible. There are things I’ve done since then that make me feel like, “Oh, forget that.” But after that experience, it became the gold standard for how I want to feel when I make something, how I want to feel about my collaborators, and how I want to feel about the finished product.
When you have such an experience early in your career, you at least learn to believe in yourself more. I can’t imagine walking on set and it feels like you can’t even trust your own instincts.
LYNSKEY: Yeah, I’m fascinated with actors that come out and people think they know everything. There are so many mysteries and horrors. I feel very lucky. It’s like acting school and film school. I was really taught everything. It’s great.
Yellow jacket airs Sunday nights on Showtime.
“After they rescued us, I lost my purpose.”
About the author
https://collider.com/yellowjackets-melanie-lynskey-shauna-interview-heavenly-creatures/ Melanie Lynskey in How Much She Knows and That Poor Rabbit