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‘Inventing Anna’: Shonda Rhimes on Rooting for and Keeping Distance from Anna Delvey



‘Inventing Anna’: Shonda Rhimes on Rooting for and Keeping Distance from Anna Delvey

Anna Delvey may not be interested in bingeing Inventing Anna, but Netflix is hopeful everyone else intends to.

The nine-episode limited series about the infamous “Soho grifter,” a fake German heiress who conned her way into New York society, marks Shonda Rhimes’ first solo creation for the streaming service since inking her groundbreaking deal five years ago. Ozark Emmy winner Julia Garner stars as Delvey (real name Anna Sorokin), with Veep’s Anna Chlumsky playing a fictionalized version of New York magazine’s Jessica Pressler, the journalist (and now producer) who wrote the Delvey story on which the series is based.

Ahead of Inventing Anna’s premiere, Rhimes spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about her decision not to meet Delvey, how her perceptions of her central character changed over the course of the series and what she really thought of the piece that Delvey recently published from jail. 

You read Jessica Pressler’s 2018 New York magazine article and you knew immediately that this was the next story you wanted to tell. Let’s start easy: Why?

I think I was on a treadmill somewhere when I read the article. What I remember most is that Jessica Pressler’s writing painted such an amazing picture of that crazy period of time in New York. That “summer of scam” moment, with Fyre Festival and Theranos and all that stuff. I could just visualize it all and she had such vivid characterizations of these people, it made me want to dive in. There was something about Anna and her ambition gone wrong, if you will, or not gone wrong — however you want to look at it — and I was really into that. I thought there was something really intriguing about her and the women that surrounded her.


Pressler, or a version of her, became a very substantial character in your story. Was that always your plan? And why did you make that choice for the narrative?

Well, it was interesting, I sat down and I had long conversations with Jessica about how she reported the story, how she met Anna, all of these things. She really opened her herself up and gave us all this stuff. And Anna is a very unknowable person. She’s invented herself in a way that was just so interesting. We needed a reliable narrator, and Anna was definitely not going to be our reliable narrator. And almost nobody else was either, because everybody else had been taken in, fully taken in, by Anna. Plus, Jessica had this really compelling story. She really was, like, nine months pregnant and gave birth seconds after writing the article, which I thought was amazing. She had this redemption story. There was just so much about her that was interesting to me that I wanted to incorporate, while also being able to take the creative license of letting it not be Jessica. [The journalist character is named Vivian in the series.]

Presumably Vivian also gave the audience someone to root for in a way that Anna made it harder to do?

There was some of that. If you really look at the shows I write, I’m such a process person. I love the process and the process of the reporting was super interesting to me. The process of Vivian having a redemption was very interesting to me. The “Google never forgets” thing was really a fascinating little piece of information for me. That piece really allowed us to layer in and understand how to interpret Anna as well. I root for Anna, but I don’t necessarily expect everyone else to. People have their judgements. I’ve heard people tell me that she’s a sociopath from watching the show, and I’ve heard people tell me that they feel sorry for her. I wanted it to be that you came away with your own interpretation and I didn’t know if that was going to be possible if she was our main protagonist. 

How has your own perception of Anna changed during the course of making this show?

When I read the article, I remember thinking, like, there’s no way I’m rooting for this person. That [changed] the more I got to know Jessica, and Jessica’s really how I got to know Anna, because I purposely made a decision not to meet her — so, it was through the video interviews that I had Jessica do for us and the extensive extra research that Jessica did. Jessica went to Germany. And, the more we knew, the more I had a picture of somebody for whom you change a few details and she would’ve been successful. You change a few details, and she would’ve lived an entirely different life. That’s what was fascinating to me about her.


Some of the people who were taken by her, and so traumatized by their taken-ness, I was like, “Why were you taken? A little bit of it was wish-fulfillment on your part. You were taken because you wanted to be taken.” That is the art of a con artist, obviously. She fulfills something in you. Anna’s a perfect mirror of whatever you need her to be. She was also 26 years old. But the reason I feel most sorry for her, and it’s said in the series, is that she wanted to be famous and she’s made famous by this article and that fame is why she is in jail. If this had not been some big, fancy article, if this had not gotten all that attention, I don’t know that she would be in jail right now.

You decided you didn’t want to meet her, but you sent Jessica in to do more research. What more did you want to know in order to be able to write the series?

I had a lot of questions. At that point, the trial hadn’t happened, so I wanted to know what she felt about the prosecutor. Some of it was just me wanting to see if we could get her to talk about her childhood and where she was from — to see if she was going to be able to tell us any pieces of truth on camera. What’s fascinating about the video, by the way, is it’s beautiful. You would never be able to tell she was in prison. Somehow she’s managed to be perfectly lit. She’s a really interesting person. The more you listen, the more interesting you realize she is. And getting to hear her talk and watching the words come out of her mouth versus just hearing an interpretation of it or reading an article about it made a difference. It built the character for me. Watching her mannerisms and all that, it really built out the character for me. It also really helped Julia [Garner], though she also went and met her later. For the writers in the writers room, we were obsessive about that video.

You engaged Anna in the process, which I suspect also meant that she had and likely offered opinions about how and with whom the story should be told. How did you navigate that piece?

I have no idea if she has a lot of opinions. I have to say, the video was it for us. I was like, “And we’re done,” because I knew we needed that separation of church and state. By the time she became a convicted felon, I was like, “We cannot tell a story if we are enmeshed in this world.” It also was really apparent that everybody else involved in the story was fully enmeshed in Anna. They all were so deeply tied up in her. I was like, “As writers, we’re not getting tied up in her.” We were working with [Anna’s friend] Neff and working with [her trainer] Kacy and we were talking to [her lawyer] Todd. So, it was great to have those conversations, but it was also important for us to keep a distance.

When Julia Garner decided that she wanted to meet Anna, how do you advise her and did you have concerns about how such a meeting could impact her performance?


Julia wanted to go and meet Anna, and Betsy Beers [Rhimes’ producing partner] and I debated for a while about whether or not it was a good idea. We debated, should we go? Because I’d spent so much time not going. But it became, “Would it make sense?” Part of me was like, I want to go to the Bedford Correctional Facility because I want to know what it’s like. As a writer, you want to immerse yourself so badly. But it just felt like this is not for me, this is still not a thing I need to do because, no matter what happens, I’m going to be the storyteller. But she really wanted to meet Julia and Julia really wanted to meet her, and I felt like it’s not going to be dangerous for Julia. It can’t hurt her to have this interaction, the scripts are already written.

And what’s really interesting about Julia is she might be one of the most intellectual actors I’ve ever met. I had this perception of her in my head from Ozark, but she’s a little brainiac. She came at it from a very psychological profile kind of place, and I was like, “She’s going to be fine. She’s not going to be one of those people who goes in there and comes back out, like, ‘Oh my God, this poor girl.’” She came back more, like, “I’ve got her accent, I’m good.”

How important was getting that accent right?

It’s the strangest accent in the world.

It really is.

It doesn’t reflect any one country, which was very, very difficult. That was another reason why seeing the video was important. I was stunned by the accent the first time I heard it. But what was good about that was it made me understand a little bit more why people fell for Anna. It’s this very unknowable pan-European thing that makes you go, “Well, maybe she could be from Germany?” Or, “I understand why some people think she’s from Russia.” It gave her this lost princess quality that allowed people to believe almost anything. Maybe she went to boarding school in Switzerland. It was that thing. That accent helped her get over in a lot of ways. It’s such a bizarre accent. Part of me wanted to do the thing where maybe we should show a little footage of the real Anna talking at the end, just so people can see how good Julia did that accent but that felt gratuitous.


At the top of every episode, you tell the audience that everything they are about to see is true except for the things that are totally made up. Where were the places where you felt you had to get this right, versus, saying, “You know what, I am a storyteller”?

It used to be that that was a voiceover by Anna and Vivian, where you would hear Anna say, “Everything in this story is completely true,” and then Vivian would say, exasperated, “except for the parts are totally made up.” Because Anna was creating this world in which she was like, “This is who I am and this is what my world is,” and Vivian was like, “Half of this crap is bullshit.” So, it became the perfect disclaimer, not because we were over-interpreting the facts but because we were dealing with direct interview statements from witnesses and interviews and transcripts, and I was like somebody, might say this is libel. Honestly, we really don’t know if it’s totally made up, but it’s what Anna said or it’s what The Futurist said. And there were some people who didn’t want to talk to us, so we had to piece things together from facts that we had and we had to create amalgamations of characters. We tried to stay as true as we could to the interpretation and the idea of what the truth was as we knew it to be, but I can’t tell you what the truth is because honestly these are just people’s versions of their stories about Anna.

Anna just published an article where she described her experience in prison and said she won’t be watching the series. What did you make the of the piece?

I thought it was brilliant in that she basically wrote an article that says, “Fuck you for being entertained by my pain,” which is so perfectly on brand for Anna in this moment. The same way her saying, “I think there’s nothing wrong with being a sociopath, being a sociopath is a good thing,” was perfectly on brand for that moment. She has no control or ownership of this, so she can create this, and it was beautifully written, by the way — this beautifully written narrative about her terrible experience being detained by ICE. And, as Jessica Pressler said to me, did she have to be detained by ICE? She could allow herself to be deported at any moment, but she refuses to be. So, it’s very on brand for Anna. Once again, as Jessica said to me, Anna Sorokin and Anna Delvey are two very different people: Anna Sorokin is a person and Anna Delvey is an invention, and that article felt like it was written by Anna Delvey.

I know we’re out of time, but are you really ready to say goodbye to this story?

I’ve been ready for a long time. Think about this: This happened in 2017, we started writing it in 2018, we started shooting it in 2019 and, because of the pandemic, we didn’t stop shooting it until 2021. I’ve been editing this thing for God knows how long. It’s very strange that something that we started so long ago is finally coming out.


Sure, but there are other people and stories within this one, and we’re living in a moment where, in success, series become universes, as Bridgerton has.

Well, it’s funny because Jessica’s been doing more research, she’s got like a book’s worth of stuff and, I got to tell you, I think there is way more to know. Those stories are endless. But for me, I’m ready to put it all to bed. I’m good. Although, I have to say, I’m obsessed with Neff and always dying to know what’s going to happen with her.

Interview edited for clarity.

Inventing Anna is streaming on Netflix.


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After Driving Again And More, Britney Spears Shares Her Latest Taste Of Post-Conservatorship Freedom




After Driving Again And More, Britney Spears Shares Her Latest Taste Of Post-Conservatorship Freedom

They say it’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary, and that’s likely particularly true if you’ve been denied access to those things for an extended period of time. After Britney Spears was released from the conservatorship she’d been under, the singer has been reintroducing herself to some of life’s simple pleasures. Last summer Spears was super pumped about regaining the freedom to drive, and in January the “Toxic” singer documented drinking her first glass of wine in over a decade. The newlywed continued to celebrate the post-conservatorship life by sharing her first trip to a bar.

Fans of the former pop singer are accustomed to seeing Britney Spears dancing and twirling and modeling different outfits at her and Sam Asghari’s new home. However, the “Toxic” singer took her followers on an exciting field trip, in which she and her assistant patronized a local drinking establishment. She shared her trip — and a sarcastic remark — on Instagram:

(Image credit: Instagram)

As she and her assistant Victoria Asher apparently enjoyed a drink and an app, Britney Spears couldn’t help but throw a little shade at her family, remarking that she was “so so grateful” for not being allowed to have a cocktail for the 13 years after her father Jamie Spears took control of her life. In fact, the 40-year-old said in her post this is her first time to partake in such an adventure. In the video, she shared:

This is my first time at a bar. First time. I feel so fancy, and I feel so sophisticated.

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TV News

How ‘Yellowjackets’ Stars Survived Hollywood




How ‘Yellowjackets’ Stars Survived Hollywood

Sure, they may have eaten a person back in the day. But there are some things the grown women of Yellowjackets just wouldn’t do. On this, the actresses who play them — Tawny Cypress, Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci — agree, as they gather in a backyard in L.A.’s Topanga Canyon in late July, just a few weeks before they start filming the second season of their breakout show.

The Showtime survival thriller, created and executive produced by Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson, earned seven Emmy nominations, including outstanding drama series and acting nominations for Lynskey and Ricci. The Yellowjackets storyline alternates between 1996 and the present day as it follows members of a high school girls soccer team whose plane crashes and strands them for 19 months in the wilderness, where they resort to cannibalism to survive.

Part of the show’s nostalgic appeal relies on its casting of these actresses, three of whom audiences knew as young women for their slyly offbeat roles in films like The Addams Family (Ricci), Cape Fear (Lewis) and Heavenly Creatures (Lynskey), to play the crash survivors as adults. In this conversation with THR, Cypress, Lewis, Lynskey and Ricci disclose their ’90s regrets, share what it means when you call an actress “quirky” and reveal how survival bonds women — including in the trenches of Hollywood.

Who here knew each other before the show?

MELANIE LYNSKEY (Points to Christina Ricci.) We knew each other a little bit. I went to a Nick Cave concert by myself, and Christina came up and —


CHRISTINA RICCI I was very excited to see you.

LYNSKEY So excited. We were having a lovely chat, and then she’s like, “Are you here by yourself?” She’s the coolest person of all time, and I was intimidated. I just felt embarrassed to say, “I’ve come to a concert by myself.” I was like 24 or something.

RICCI I was impressed because I couldn’t go anywhere by myself.

LYNSKEY I also went to see Clay Aiken by myself because nobody would come with me.

It’s surprising that none of you had worked together over the years.

JULIETTE LEWIS It’s wild when you’ve been around so long, and you sort of have a kindred connection to people. There’s certain actors you’re like, “Mmm, we’re not of the same tree,” and then there’s other actors you’re like, “Oh, yeah. We have some roots.”


Juliette, Melanie and Christina, all three of your Wikipedia entries say some version of, “Often plays quirky or offbeat characters.” What do those words mean to you?

LEWIS Real people, specific and unpredictable.

LYNSKEY I remember I got cast in a movie when I was like 21, and the description of the character before I auditioned was “Blah, blah, blah, the beautiful girl who sits next to him in school.” Then, at the table read, it had been changed to “Blah, blah, blah, cute and quirky.” I was like, “You don’t need to change it. Just keep it …” They’re like, “We better change this description or people will be like, wrong actress.” So, sometimes it feels … I don’t know. I never liked that word, “quirky.”

RICCI When you say that all of us had this description, that to me speaks to a past time, when, if you weren’t the leading-lady ingenue then you were quirky and offbeat. All right, so there’s two groups for actresses? In a way, I’m fine with being in the category I’m in because what it means to me is that I have made an effort in my career to do things that I feel like I haven’t seen before. So, in some ways, I like it. In other ways, I’m like, “Ugh.” It’s a little dismissive. A little cute and dismissive.

LEWIS We come from the ’90s where, when I had blond hair, I was the pretty airhead, and then I dyed my hair dark, and I was the wisecracking, sarcastic girl. But yeah, I think it’s really neat that we’ve all carved this path of range and specificity.

Isn’t another term for that “character actor”?


RICCI But “character actress” used to be something they used to describe an ugly woman.


RICCI Back in the late ’90s, my agents were always like, “We have to be so careful you don’t become a character actress. If we’re not careful, you’re going to end up just like Jennifer Jason Leigh.” I was like, “I like her.” They were so afraid of me not being a leading lady, of me not being sexually attractive to people. It was really the last thing I ever wanted, was for anyone to be attracted to me.

LEWIS My dad was a character actor. So to me, it was something that was super noble. It was a world of adventure and not limiting. I rebelled against the system, the PR system of being in some bizarre idea of beauty. I really revolted against that, for better or for worse. Crying in a bathroom at a photo shoot, like, “I won’t come out.” They want these doe-eyed looks. That’s for sure what I didn’t do in pictures, so I always looked slightly insane, which I prefer over, like, “Do you want to fuck me?”

Tawny, what was your sense of what the expectations were for you when you were starting out?

CYPRESS I’ve had a different row to hoe. I’ve spent my whole career doing shitty roles of the sassy one on the side. Honestly, growing up as an actor, I wanted to be an ingenue.


LEWIS Isn’t that funny? And I wanted to be sassy and opinionated.

CYPRESS I couldn’t be an ingenue. I just couldn’t. It’s just not in me, you know? I was never presented with those roles, ever, and I was like, “Oh, OK. That’s not who I am.” I sort of, growing older, have embraced my Jersey side, and I am who I am, and this is what you get.

LYNSKEY I started calling myself a character actor in interviews when I was really young because I think it was reclaiming the term or something. I think I just was like, “That’s what I am.” My agents had all that kind of intensity around it, too. I remember when I did Coyote Ugly

RICCI Oh my God, you got a piece in that? I went up for that, and I didn’t get it.

CYPRESS I did too.

LYNSKEY I played the best friend from Jersey. But the scrutiny that was on Piper [Perabo], who’s one of the coolest, smartest women, just the way people were talking about her body, talking about her appearance, focusing on what she was eating. All the girls had this regimen they had to go on. It was ridiculous. I was already starving myself and as thin as I could possibly be for this body, and I was still a [size] four. That was already people putting a lot of Spanx on me in wardrobe fittings and being very disappointed when they saw me, the costume designer being like, “Nobody told me there would be girls like you.” Really intense feedback about my physicality, my body, people doing my makeup and being like, “I’m just going to help you out by giving you a bit more of a jawline and stuff.” Just the feedback was constantly like, “You’re not beautiful. You’re not beautiful.” In your early 20s, so much of it is about beauty, and how people respond to you, and do people want to fuck you? Do people think you’re their best friend? Even the best friend thing, I started to be like, “I don’t want to do that too many times.”


Did you have to unlearn anything that people tried to teach you when you were starting out?

LEWIS I had developed such a survival mechanism to protect my autonomy, sort of, “You don’t own me. You don’t tell me my value. Only I do.” I was extremely self-critical — it still happens — of my work. It’s almost like a defense mechanism that no one could talk shit about me more than I can. There’s all these things that are wrapped up in how to survive a system. That’s what I’m unlearning today — to be softer. This is a really remarkable industry to be a part of. I feel honored to be a part of it and what it gave me, but I do still hold on to what it took from me in my youth.

Given what you all experienced coming into the industry, do you feel at all protective of the younger actresses who play the younger versions of your characters?

LYNSKEY (Begins to cry.) So much. I feel very protective. At the beginning of production, I sent them all an email, and I just was like, “Whatever you need, if you need a voice, if you need someone to go to the producers for you, whatever you need,” and they were kind of like, “Cool. Thanks.” They’re fine.

CYPRESS Totally fine. Jas [Jasmin Savoy Brown] was a boss on set. She’s like, “This is how we’re doing my hair. This is what we’re doing.”

RICCI They’re very much of a different generation.


CYPRESS I am protective of Jas in the fact that she is so sexually positive, which I love. She has taught me so much, just knowing her as a person. But I’m like a mama bear to her, or a big sister. I’m like, “What are you putting online right now?” She’s like, “Whatever. Whatever. This is life, man. I love myself.” I’m protective, but I’m also in awe of her, you know?

LEWIS But there is a thing I always want to say to young people: Cultivate other interests deeply so that you’re not getting all your life’s blood from this industry, or your self-worth.

Is there anything you miss about the ’90s?

LYNSKEY I have a lot of love letters from the ’90s.

RICCI Someone used to fax me love letters when he was on tour. I did not save them. I throw everything out. I had a specific thing when I was a child, that we would be punished by the things that we loved being destroyed. My husband, who is a much healthier individual, has gone back and found all my old magazine covers on Etsy because he thinks it’s horrible that I never saved them. As a child, I learned that this is going to be taken from me, so why save it anyway?

LYNSKEY That’s heartbreaking. Well, I saved everything because I’m basically an emotional hoarder. I have this literal suitcase, an old-fashioned suitcase.


RICCI This is very dark, but I would just like to go back to that age and do it over again and not make so many fucking mistakes. Honestly, I regret so much.

CYPRESS Me too. One thousand percent.

LEWIS Me too.

RICCI I’d like to go back to 1996 and be like, “All right … we had a practice run. It went OK, but it wasn’t really as great as we wanted it to be. We’re going to do this again.” People who are like, “I have no regrets.” What fucking magic life did you live?

LEWIS Where they go, “I don’t regret anything because that led up to this moment.” Really? The thing that could’ve put my dad in an early grave, I fucking regret it. Yes. I was very scary as a young teenage person.

CYPRESS Yeah. I hurt a lot of people growing up, and I wish that I didn’t. I was going through my memory box. It was my great-great-grandmother’s she brought over from Hungary. It’s huge, and it’s filled to the brim with everything from my life. I came across a note from high school. It was my first gay friend, and it broke my heart because he was like, “I want to thank you for not talking to me anymore and just cutting me off the way that you did. It made it hurt less.” I literally was crying, and I had to call him and be like, “I just came across this note, and I’m so sorry that I was that person to you.” When I think back, I think how wonderful our relationship was, but I was a shit, you know? I would definitely do so many things differently.


LEWIS I’ve had those moments where I turned into … Because I’ve been bullied, but when I was 11 and got in a fight with a girl, I was mean [the same way] how a girl was mean to me. I was really vicious.

LYNSKEY I think people without regrets are narcissists. I think they’re lying to themselves.

RICCI Denial is the only way to get up that river.

What did you all feel when you learned that Roe v. Wade was overturned?

RICCI It’s really horrible to be told so plainly what your value is.

LEWIS I wish the two factions can talk, like, “Hey, what do you do with a bad situation, poverty and drug addiction, and rape?” You have to have an option that is salvageable or is sustainable for the survival of a person, a woman who’s living.


CYPRESS I don’t really give a shit what your reason to have an abortion is. It’s your fucking body. I don’t really fucking care. You don’t want to be a mom, right? That’s your fucking decision. Look, we can put morals on it and say, “Well, only when you’re raped, or only if it’s …” It’s like no, dude. It’s either in or out. We’re either telling women what to do with their bodies or we let them have their own choice. I am of the mind, choice. I’m not going to judge you for making that decision.

LYNSKEY And there seems to be this general lack of compassion and empathy that’s just growing and growing. There’s so much hatred, and people are unable to look at another person’s life and go, “Oh, you know, that’s an untenable situation,” or even, “That’s a difficult situation.” There’s no grace given to anybody else. There’s no empathy. You don’t get to make decisions for somebody else. You don’t know what’s right for them.

Is there a place for TV and film in that conversation?

CYPRESS I mean, that’s what TV and film do. That’s what art is. On Yellowjackets, let’s talk about Shauna’s baby in the woods, you know? Yeah. I think we have a lot of room to speak on this subject, and I hope we do.

Did anybody have their kids on set for season one?

LYNSKEY (Points to Ricci.) We did.


RICCI And I was pregnant. I didn’t tell anyone but these ladies that I was pregnant for six months. When we started, I was six weeks pregnant. It was difficult. There were so many times where I was like, “Ooh, when they find out I’m pregnant, and they made me sit in this smoky room all day. When they realize that they made me stand for eight hours, and I’m pregnant, and I have this horrible sciatica, and it’s 100 degrees, oh, they’re going to feel so bad.” They didn’t feel bad at all. But anyway, it was fine. In fact, it would’ve been helpful if I was playing a more emotional character because I can give a real good performance when I’m pregnant, real emo.

How would you finish the sentence, “Yellowjackets is really about …”?



CYPRESS Friendship.

RICCI Haunting, the way trauma haunts you. The way you can never escape. The way it twists people in different ways.


LEWIS Aberrant survival tactics.

We know that these characters have done a bunch of aberrant things, as you say, including cannibalism. But do you have in your mind an idea that, “OK, she may have eaten another human being, but she would never do this“?

RICCI I know when they confront me because I’m like, “OK, she wouldn’t do that.” Misty wouldn’t drink that drink. Originally, in the script, she was drinking a Brandy Alexander, and I said, “No, Misty would drink a chocolate martini.” I have rules and stuff for her in my head, and they do conflict with the writers sometimes. I don’t think she actually is interested in men, at all. I think she does it because she’s bored, or because she thinks that’s what she’s supposed to do. Then, she’s also realized that she can have a lot of fun trying to trick them into having sex with her when they don’t want to. It’s like men will kind of know that you don’t want to have sex with them, but if they can get you to have sex with them, they won.

LEWIS It’s a power thing.

RICCI Misty’s way of doing it is through this really horrible manipulation, making him feel guilty and having sex with her while feeling guilty, which would be a terrible experience.

When you have a different perspective on your character than the writers, what do you do?


RICCI That’s part of the thing with TV that I’ve learned now, being involved in a production but not being one of the EPs, so you aren’t a part of creating what people do. “OK, they wrote this scene. I have to play this scene. If she was in this situation, how the fuck would she be in this situation, and why would she be?” Then, you don’t have to tell other people what you come up with. They can find out about it later when you do press.

Does anybody else have a line in their mind that their character wouldn’t cross?

LYNSKEY I had one. There was something written into a script where I was going on a date with my lover, and they had me going into my daughter’s bedroom and taking her underwear, which was just not practical because I wouldn’t fit it. She’s little. But also, ew. I think there was something, apparently, somewhere, people liked the thing in the pilot where I’m masturbating in my daughter’s bedroom. I was like, “Can that just be an isolated incident? I don’t want it to be a theme.” So I just was like, “I don’t want to do that.” They were great about it.

LEWIS It comes, I think, with experience and respect, that they appreciate if you have a point of view. I have an “anything goes” stamp on me, which they all know. But I have strong ideas, especially about my trajectory in midlife. I’ve looked at Natural Born Killers recently, and I’m like, “Jesus.” Thank goodness I had a partner like Woody Harrelson, but it is so sexual. No one forced me into that. I was a young nihilist who didn’t give a fuck, and I felt comfortable with Woody, and I liked the material. But nowadays, I’m very particular. So, they had written a sex scene, and I was like, “I don’t know. I don’t know that she even gets off. I don’t know that she even can have orgasms.” That’s how deep I went. So it was more like, is she doing something to get something? At the end of the day, I just didn’t even think she fucks, sorry to be so graphic, at this juncture that you saw in season one. I think she might’ve had relationships with all of them in the wilderness. I don’t know if they’re going to write it, but that’s what I’d like to think of Natalie.

LYNSKEY That’s what I think too.

RICCI What? I never thought of that. Who would they be making out with? I guess each other.


The finale hints that there may be additional Yellowjackets who survived into adulthood. Have actors been cast for those roles?

LEWIS Wait, Melanie, didn’t you say that on our chain, that someone we like is cast to be … (At this point there is meaningful eye contact among the four women.)

RICCI We don’t know for sure. That’s what we’ve heard was close to happening.

LYNSKEY We don’t know anything.

On season one, you were making this show under the radar. Now there’s so much fan speculation. Does that change the way you approach the work?

RICCI There’s more pressure going into season two.


CYPRESS Have you guys also had that feeling of like, “Can I do this? Is it going to be good, the second season? Am I going to fuck this character up?”

LYNSKEY I have those fears.

RICCI Me too, but because TV is so fast, and you have so little time with the information, the process of talking about the show afterward helps you to evolve your take on your character. To understand things that were intended with the character that maybe weren’t clear originally because you get to hear the EPs talk about it. I’m going to make changes in the next season based on what I have come to realize through all this talking.

Like what?

RICCI Well, that’s a secret.

How much do you want to know about the path that your character is on?


CYPRESS Fuck, I want to know everything. I sit there, and when I think about the show, I think, “What the fuck are they going to do with this character?” There’s so many different parts to her right now. The dog thing. She’s now a senator. There may be an old love coming back, you know? I’m like, “How are they going to do this?” I just want to know.

LYNSKEY Now you’re a full-time dog killer.

RICCI I didn’t even know that you were supposed to be the one that killed the dog.


RICCI I thought, “Oh, well maybe somebody broke in.”

LYNSKEY That could still be, right?


CYPRESS Wait, give me more to think about.

So you don’t go to the writers and say, “To be clear, did I kill the dog?”

CYPRESS Oh, we do. They just say, “Mmm.”

RICCI “We don’t know.”

CYPRESS But they do know.

RICCI I don’t think they’re trying to control us with no information or anything. Sometimes, they don’t want to commit to something that hasn’t been necessarily set in stone. I do find it frustrating to not know, and we’re never able to know fully. I have decided to learn how to function with knowing nothing.


Interview edited for length and clarity.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 3 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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James Gunn Addresses Peacemaker Future Amid Batgirl Cancelation




James Gunn Addresses Peacemaker Future Amid Batgirl Cancelation

Shockwaves from Warner Bros.’s cancelation of Batgirl have had many fans questioning the possibility of other DC-connected projects following suit. Amid outcries from fans of Batgirl, Michael Keaton, Brendan Fraser, and even Snyderverse fans who are always eager to picket Warner Bros., Peacemaker fans started asking James Gunn whether there was any possibility that his DC work was going to suffer amid the company’s cost-cutting exercise. Ironically, considering the history that led James Gunn to work with DCEU characters, it seems that the director and his shows are the only ones who are “safe.”

What seems like a lifetime ago, James Gunn was all set to start work on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 for Disney and Marvel Studios when some old Twitter posts led to him being unceremoniously sacked. By the time Disney backtracked on their firing, Gunn was already committed to directing The Suicide Squad for Warner Bros., which is why Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 has taken so long to arrive. Now, during all the chaos at Warner Bros., it appears that Gunn is not worried at all about the second season of Peacemaker getting the ax. When asked if the show was safe, Gunn simply replied:


“Yes, guys, calm down.”

That is a relief for fans of the small sub-universe Gunn is building inside the DCEU, which along with The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker, is set to include at least another unannounced project and be linked to the Amanda Waller series that is in development. At least that side of the franchise doesn’t appear to be going anywhere.

Related: Peacemaker: Will More Suicide Squad Members Appear in Season 2?

Is Warner Bros. Still Planning on Rebooting The DCEU?

There have been rumors of a “soft-reboot” coming to the DCEU for a long time, and while it seems at times like Warner Bros. is heading in that direction, they have constantly denied any such intention. During San Diego Comic-Con, the entire focus of the Warner Bros. live-action DC panel was on Black Adam and Shazam! Fury of the Gods. Both of these movies have their small links to the wider DCEU, and once again, Warner Bros. seemed to be causing confusion by including a Justice League montage within the Shazam sequel while at the same time professing that they are not revisiting that particular DCEU set up in any way.

One thing clear from Dwayne Johnson’s appearance at SDCC is that he believes that Black Adam is setting the tone for a new DCEU, and based on everything else that is happening, he could be right. While there is no way of telling exactly where the franchise will be heading beyond The Flash in 2023, with new additional entries like Wonder Woman 3 constantly being stuck in limbo, it has been made clear that some big changes are being made in regards to the DCEU and fans will be hoping that those changes bring some kind of consistency to the franchise before it ends up crashing down around itself.


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