Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci saw selves in 'Yellowjackets' cast

Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci saw selves in 'Yellowjackets' cast
Natalie (Juliette Lewis) gets out of rehab with a vengeance. Photo courtesy of Showtime

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 (UPI) -- Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci and Melanie Lynskey said the actors who played their characters as teenagers in the Showtime drama Yellowjackets, premiering Sunday, captured their mannerisms.

In this fictional drama inspired by Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571d, the Yellowjackets were a high school soccer team flying to a competition in 1996 when their plane crashed. The three portray adult survivors in the present day, and their younger counterparts play them in flashbacks in the crash aftermath. Lewis, 48, and Sophie Thatcher, 21, play Natalie.


As a teenager, Natalie was a rebel who obtained alcohol for herself and her friends. As an adult, Natalie is just concluding a stint in rehab in the present. Lewis said Thatcher told her she would mimic Lewis' voice.

"I like playing with my voice a lot with characters, and so this one's pitched lower," Lewis said on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel. "That was really interesting to see Sophie do, and some of her expressions were similar to me."


Ricci, 41, and Samantha Hanratty, 26, play Misty. In the '90s, Misty played on the Yellowjackets, but was an outcast.

In the present, Misty is a nurse to the elderly. Ricci said she and Hanratty met to discuss their reference points, but as an adult, Ricci said Misty's personality evolved from a punishing life.

"If you take young Misty and you just squeeze and punish her for years, what comes out?" Ricci said. "I decided it was passive aggression."

Lewis said she agreed that the adult versions of the characters had developed more facades since the plane crash. Lewis said Thatcher got to play a more pure Natalie.

"It's before you learn your masks or all these veneers that you come up with as you evolve or devolve a little bit," Lewis said.

Lynskey, 44, and Sophie Nelisse, 21, play Shauna, a Yellowjackets player who defends teammates when tempers flare. Lynskey said Nelisse captured her mannerisms on her own.

"When we're on the sidelines, we have a way of looking from under our eyebrows," Lynskey said.

Yellowjackets episodes intercut between flashbacks to the girls surviving in the forest in 1996 and present-day scenes. Lynskey said in both eras, Yellowjackets focuses on the complexities of the friendship between teammates.


Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci attend 'Yellowjackets' premiere

Cast members left to right, Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci attend the premiere of Showtime's "Yellowjackets" on November 10, 2021. Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

"The story really got to the heart of female relationships," Lynskey said. "It just wasn't 'Oh, this one is jealous of that one.'"

The Yellowjackets were stranded for nearly two years before they were rescued. The show will explore the mystery of what happened to them, and why they're still keeping secrets as adults.

Lewis said the intensity of Yellowjackets reminded her of the films she made when she was a teen actor. She was 18 when she played a teenager stalked by a killer in Cape Fear, and at 17 played a 15-year-old who kills her abusive boyfriend in the TV movie, Too Young to Die.

"I've always been attracted to what I call the 'primal energies' and 'high stakes' genre or dramas," Lewis said. "I always had this empathy, as a kid, for hardship in others."

Both Ricci and Lynskey began acting young. Lynskey debuted at 15 in Heavenly Creatures, based on the true story of boarding school friends who murder one of their mothers.

Ricci made mer movie debut at nine in Mermaids and played Wednesday Addams in the two live-action Addams Family movies. Ricci said she related the social awkwardness that Hanratty portrayed when Misty was an outcast on the Yellowjackets.


"She has all the emotions, but she doesn't necessarily understand that everybody else has them too," Ricci said. "When they crash and she does finally become important, she creates a situation in which she will stay important."

One connection Lynskey felt held true between young Shauna and adult Shauna was her sexual confidence. Prior to the crash, Shauna has sex with her boyfriend and as an adult she is game to explore her husband's sexual fantasies.

"She's like quite a sexual being who is quite secure in her sexuality," Lynskey said. "Shauna was holding her own and really knew who she was."

Yellowjackets airs Sundays at 10 p.m. EST on Showtime.

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