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The 30 Best Hindi Movies on Netflix Right Now

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The 30 Best Hindi Movies on Netflix Right Now

2022 is finally here! The new year is full of opportunities and possibilities, and everyone is looking forward to exploring something new, be it new places, new cultures, or new movies! After going through your watch list and binge watches during the holidays, you’re now left with the daunting challenge of what to watch next. You’re looking for something different, something that adds spice to your life. Well, Indian movies are as savory as they can get!

India is a land of diversity and culture, and there are as many cultures as there are spices in the subcontinent. The same is reflected in their movies, full of drama, romance, action, and of course, the iconic dance numbers. Indian films are some of the most entertaining movies you’ll ever watch, and some of them are quite good and highly underrated. If you have a taste for learning about different cultures and looking for an outlandish adventure, we’ve got you covered. We’ve collected an ensemble of 30 best Hindi movies available in the U.S. that will entail all of your needs – romance, drama, over-the-top action, and much more. So grab some pakoras and get ready to take a dive into the kaleidoscopic world of Hindi cinema!

RELATED: The 65 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now (January 2022)

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3 Idiots

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Writer: Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi

Cast: Aamir Khan, R. Madhavan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor

3 Idiots is a coming-of-age comedy-drama that focuses on the pressure faced by youths freshly out of school and points out the flaws in the educational system. It raises a major question about the purpose of higher studies, is it for knowledge or just to secure jobs? Loosely adapted from the novel Five Point Someone, written by one of the most famous Indian novelists, Chetan Bhagat, the film talks about the story of three young engineering students, who, after qualifying for one of the toughest entrance exams held in India, are admitted to a prestigious engineering college called the ICE (Imperial College of Engineering).

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The three ‘idiots’ go through an arduous and comical journey trying to survive the intense pressure of college, balancing their personal life, and forming a strong bond at the same time. The film ends with a sweet note to the viewers, urging them to pursue a career they are passionate about instead of following the herd because it is your happiness that counts at the end of the day. 3 Idiots is one of those films that is sure to lift your spirits, and deserves a spot on your watchlist.

Queen

Director: Vikas Bahl

Writer: Vikas Bahl, Chaitally Parmar, Parveez Shaikh

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Cast: Kangana Ranaut, Lisa Haydon, Rajkummar Rao

Queen is a woman-centric film set in a conservative society. It is all about women’s empowerment, showcasing the kind of changes that are needed in the mindset of the Indian community, that has traditionally followed patriarchy. Yes, India is changing, it is developing, but most Indian women still don’t feel as free as women from more developed parts of the world. The protagonist of the story named Rani (Queen) gets dumped by her fiancé because she’s too “conservative” for him. She embarks on a solo trip of her own, traveling to Paris and Amsterdam, learns what it means to be independent. She experiences something she had never truly felt before: freedom. Towards the end of the film, she visualizes how she wants to live her life, and decides to live it like a Queen.


Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham (Sometimes There is Joy, Sometimes There is Sorrow…)

Director: Karan Johar

Writer: Karan Johar

Cast: Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Hrithik Roshan, Kareena Kapoor

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One of the best movies directed and written by Karan Johar, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham (Sometimes there is joy, sometimes there is sorrow) is set in a traditional Indian patriarchal society. Bejeweled with some of the finest and most famous actors from India’s Bollywood industry, the film shows how and why some traditional Indian perspectives need to be changed.

The film tells the story of a rich Indian family that is highly patriarchal and strictly follows traditions. The family consists of a very conservative father, a meek but loving mother, and two sons, the elder one being adopted. The adopted son falls in love with a girl from a low-income background, which is forbidden according to the traditional family rules, and is thus disowned by the father after he refuses to give up on her. 10 years later, the younger son schemes to bring them all together after seeing the pain hidden behind the pride of his parents. The well-timed comedy and the emotional scenes from the film will make your heart melt and is definitely worth a watch.


Kahani (Story)

Director: Sujoy Ghosh

Writer: Sujoy Ghosh and Advaita Kala

Cast: Vidya Balan, Parambrata Chatterjee, Nawazuddin Siddiqui

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A suspense-filled thriller at its core, Kahani, which literally translates into ‘Story’, is in stark contrast to the stereotypical Bollywood movies, focusing more on building up a compelling narrative instead of dance numbers and over-the-top action. Set in the joyous neighborhood of Kolkata, the film chronicles the story of a distressed pregnant British-Indian software engineer, who has traveled to the city looking for her lost husband. She begins her search with the help of the police, unknowingly at odds with a terrorist group who aren’t really happy about her poking around in all the wrong places. Kahani explores themes of feminism and motherhood in a male-dominated Indian society. The bleak and tense plot of the film timely descends into the final twist, which leaves the viewers with a sense of shock and satisfaction at the same time.


Kuch Kuch Hota Hai (Something Happens)

Director: Karan Johar

Writer: Karan Johar

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Rani Mukherji

One of the most famous rom-com Indian films of all time, Kuch Kuch Hota Hai was Karan Johar’s directorial debut and a massive hit. The plot combines two love triangles set almost a decade apart. The first one involves two best friends at a college, Rahul (Shah Rukh Khan) and Anjali (Kajol), Anjali falls for Rahul but he falls in love with someone else and is oblivious to Anjali feelings. Fast forward, ten years later, the guy is a widower, with a little daughter who comes to know of her dad’s best friend, and she sets out on a quest to get them back together in a more romantic way. However, the second half also consists of another love triangle, this time involving the duo and Anjali’s fiancé. The sweet and emotional ending of the film leaves you with a strange sense of content and delight, and is definitely worth a watch.

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PK

Director: Rajkumar Hirani

Writer: Rajkumar Hirani and Abhijat Joshi

Cast: Aamir Khan, Anushka Sharma, Sushant Singh Rajput, Sanjay Dutt, Boman Irani, Saurabh Shukla

PK is a sci-fi satirical comedy that questions moral values and their intangibility to religion. It stresses the fact that humanity is greater than any religion. The film begins with an innocent humanoid alien arriving on planet earth, landing in India. He is left behind by his peers with a communication device to research about earth’s people and culture. However, his device is stolen and he has to go through several hilarious and often dangerous ordeals to get it back. His quests get him into trouble with various religious preachers, one of whom possesses the device he is after and refuses to give it back to him, claiming it was “a gift from god”. The film is sure to make you laugh till your tummy hurts, and the emotional finale will remind you what it really means to be a human. Definitely one of the most rewatchable movies on this list.


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Bahubali

Director: S. S. Rajamouli

Writer: K. V. Vijayendra Prasad

Cast: Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah, Ramya Krishna, Sathyaraj, Nassar

Bahubali is one of the most successful Indian movies that is actually not from Bollywood. Originally filmed in Telugu and Tamil languages, it was dubbed into Hindi and broke the Indian box office. Taking inspiration from the Indian epic Mahabharata, the story is divided into two films: Bahubali: The Beginning and Bahubali: The Conclusion, both of them equally enjoyable and satisfying. It tells the story of an ancient kingdom of Mahishmati, where the rightful heir to the throne is forced to live in exile after his uncle tries to kill him as a baby to capture the throne. He is rescued by some villagers, who adopt him and raise him as their own son.

Two decades later, he accidentally stumbles upon the story of his past while trying to help his crush, who happens to be a member of a rebel group that is trying to rescue the queen, his mom, from captivity. The unbelievable twists and mesmerizing VFX keep you hooked till the end of the second movie, and will make you feel like you are reading directly from the pages of an ancient manuscript.

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Khoobsurat (Beautiful)

Director: Shashanka Ghosh

Writer: Indira Bisht, Juhi Chaturvedi

Cast: Sonam Kapoor, Fawad Khan, Kirron Kher, Ratna Pathak, Aamir Raza Hussain

Khoobsurat is the Indian version of a Disney princess story. Yes, you heard it right! Produced under the Walt Disney banners, Khoobsurat is loosely based on the 1980 film of the same name. The film narrates the story of a young and lively physiotherapist, who gets a job offer to work for an Indian royal family, but the dull and strict environment at the palace depresses her. She tries to breathe life into their sad lives with her hard work and cheerful demeanor, but things don’t always go her way. While working at the palace, she falls in love with the young prince but gets rejected. However, her efforts begin to bear fruit as the family slowly gets back together in a fairy-tale fashion and brings a smile to everyone’s face.


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Pad Man

Director: R. Balki

Writer: R. Balki and Swanand Kirkire

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte

Pad Man is the story of an Indian hero, but not in the sense you might think. In several rural Indian households, menstruation is seen as a taboo subject, much like everything related to sex, and is something that is looked down upon. Due to the lack of proper sex education, women often have to face unhygienic conditions, and sometimes it goes to an extreme, where they are kept away from the house during the days when they need their families the most. Periods are seen as something impure, a woman’s fault for being a woman, and our hero sets on a journey to change those views.

The film is inspired by the life of a real-life social activist Arunachalam Muruganantham, who sets out on a quest to learn how to make affordable, reliable, and hygienic sanitary pads after seeing his wife suffer due to the lack of education and a chronic case of superstition in his family and village. The story is a saga of true love and dedication set in a more realistic rural world and inspires you to take a stand against similar social issues.


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Drishyam (Visual)

Director: Nishikant Kamat

Writer: Upendra Sidhaye

Cast: Ajay Devgn, Tabu, Shriya Saran

One of the best-written Indian films, Drishyam is one of a kind crime thriller that will keep you glued to your TV screen till the very end. A remake of the 2013 Malayalam-language film of the same name, Drishyam tells the story of a father’s ordeal to protect his family, and the lengths he is willing to go to do the same. The family is held suspect in a criminal investigation, the murder of the son of Inspector General of Goa Police. They are scrutinized and tortured by the police but to no avail. The story slowly unfolds through various gripping twists and turns, much like an episode of CSI, and will make you chow down on several helpings of popcorn in anticipation by the time you reach the end.


Raees (Rich)

Director: Rahul Dholakia

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Writer: Rahul Dholakia, Harit Mehta, Ashish Vashi, Niraj Shukla

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Mahira Khan

Raees speaks the story of a criminal mastermind’s journey from rags to riches. Born in an impoverished town of the Indian state of Gujarat, he is lured to a life of crime. However, he does have his own moral code, which gets him into trouble from time to time, and also his untimely death. The film features all the elements of a masala (spicy) Bollywood movie, along with item numbers, amazing fight scenes, and iconic dialogues, and is one of the grittier films on this list. If you are a fan of TV shows like The Sopranos, you are definitely going to find this entry quite interesting and worth your time.

Dangal (A Wrestling Bout)

Director: Nitesh Tiwari

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Writer: Nitesh Tiwari, Saeed Aadil, Piyush Gupta, Shreyas Jain, Nikhil Mehrotra

Cast: Aamir Khan, Sakshi Tanwar, Fatima Sana Shaikh, Zaira Wasim, Sanya Malhotra, Suhani Bhatnagar

Dangal is an honest depiction of a real-life story of a family of Indian wrestlers who broke the stereotype “women are not as strong as men”. It tells the story of an Indian amateur wrestler Mahavir Singh Phogat, who once was the national wrestling champion in his youth but had to abandon his dream of winning an Olympic medal for India because of a lack of financial backing. So he dedicates his life to training his daughters in the sport, under the tagline “Mhari Chhoria Chhoro se kum hai ke” (My daughters are no less talented than boys). Through years of hardwork and patience, going through various ups and downs, at times falling out, they manage to stay and work together, and his daughters fulfill his lifelong dream of securing a medal at the Olympics. The film has its emotional and comedic moments and makes you want to jump right back into the gym to make good on your new year’s resolution.


Jodha Akbar

Director: Ashutosh Gowariker

Writer: Ashutosh Gowariker, K. P. Saxena and Haidar Ali

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Cast: Hrithik Roshan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonu Sood

A historical movie at its core, Jodha Akbar mixes elements of fiction and romance and takes you back to the medieval period when Mughals ruled over much of India. It narrates the story of the Mughal Emporer Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar and the Hindu Princess Jodhaa Bai, who are married as a result of diplomatic ties and territory expansion between Mughals and a section of the Rajputs (warrior kings of Rajasthan, an Indian state). Akbar has been portrayed as a ruthless conqueror by some and a brilliant statesman by others in history books, but here you see his romantic demeanor as he gradually falls in love with Jodha Bai. The film is filled with great action, VFX, amazing scores, and an intriguing plot line, making it one of the best Indian historical movies to date.


Tare Zameen Par (Like Stars on Earth)

Director: Aamir Khan

Writer: Amole Gupte

Cast: Amir Khan, Darsheel Safary, Tanay Chheda, Sachet Engineer, Vipin Sharma, Tisca Chopra.

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Tare Zameen Par is a psychological drama and proved to be an educational film about dyslexia at a time when there was not much awareness about the disorder in India. The film tells the story of an 8-year-old dyslexic child, who is misunderstood by his family for failing in class, labeled as good-for-nothing by them, his teachers, and his friends. He is admitted to a boarding school as punishment, where his life changes after he makes a friend and meets a new teacher, who himself has suffered through the same problem. The teacher discovers his hidden potential in arts and brings out the best in him by working together, functioning as a guiding light. This film is an eye-opener to the struggles dyslexic individuals, especially children, face in real life.


Kal Ho Na Ho (Tomorrow May Never Come)

Director: Karan Johar

Writer: Karan Johar and Niranjan Iyengar

Cast: Jaya Bachchan, Shah Rukh Khan, Saif Ali Khan, Preity Zinta

Kal Ho Na Ho is a romantic drama with a tragic underlying story. It tells the story of a pessimistic young woman studying in the US, whose father killed himself when she was young and has been depressed ever since. Her life is changed with the entry of her new next-door neighbor, who teaches her the meaning of life and alters her views. They both fall in love, but he refuses to admit it because he has a fatal heart condition and does not have long to live. He tries to hook her up with the girl’s best friend, who he knows is secretly in love with her, and believes will take good care of her after he is gone. The movie goes through several transformations in its tone, from bleak to comic, hopeful to tragic, but ends on a sweet note: “Make the most of your life today, because there may not be a tomorrow”.

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Saaho

Director: Sujeeth

Writer: Sujeeth, Abbas Dalal and Hussain Dalal

Cast: Prabhas, Shraddha Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Neil Nitin Mukesh

If you are looking for an awesome action-thriller laced with a carefully concocted mix of suspense and mystery, Saaho is exactly the film you should watch. One of the most expensive Indian films ever made, Saaho was filmed simultaneously in Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi languages. The movie depicts the story of Saaho, the son of an underworld boss, who carefully orchestrates a plan to avenge his father by going after the rival gangs responsible for his death. He tricks the police into helping him, fights off hoards of bad guys like a superhero, and rises to power after killing off his father’s murderer. With several unexpected twists and turns, popping item numbers, and out-of-the-world action sequences, Saaho is a wild ride and sure to keep you entertained for over two and a half hours!


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Mom

Director: Ravi Udyawar

Writer: Girish Kohli

Cast: Sridevi, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Akshaye Khanna, Sajal Ali, Adnan Siddiqui

Mom is a crime thriller drama that focuses on an issue that has been a major concern all over the world in one way or another: the safety of women. The film shows what goes through the minds of the victims and their family, and why stricter laws are necessary to prevent crimes against women. Mom is the story of a mother’s crusade, seeking justice for her young stepdaughter after she is sexually assaulted by a group of men after a party. She is failed by the judiciary system after the criminals are set free due to the lack of evidence. She goes after them herself, exacting revenge for her daughter, with some help, and shows why a mother’s love is second to none.


Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (Toilet: A Love Story)

Director: Shree Narayan Singh

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Writer: Siddharth Singh

Cast: Akshay Kumar, Bhumi Pednekar, Anupam Kher, Sudhir Pandey, Divyendu Sharma

Toilet: Ek Prem Katha is a satirical comedy that highlights the dire situation of the lack of proper sanitation facilities in Indian rural areas. It tells the story of a young man from an Indian rural area who falls in love with a city girl, and the couple moves to the village after they marry. The village is quite under-developed and its residents are uneducated and superstitious, and the government’s negligence only makes the situation worse. The spouse is horrified by the lack of proper toilets in her house and in the village and files a divorce. The case attracts media attention which ultimately forces the government to build proper sanitization arrangements in the village. The love birds manage to reconcile and encourage you to take a stand against similar practices that we often ignore due to negligence.


Main Hoon Na (I Am Here)

Director: Farah Khan

Writer: Abbas Tyrewala, Farah Khan, Rajesh Saathi

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Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Sushmita Sen, Sunil Shetty, Amrita Rao, Zayed Khan

Bollywood is known for its masala movies, i.e. films that don’t belong to a specific genre but flaunt a mix of action, romance, comedy, drama and are lined with iconic item songs. The movie narrates the story of a young Major in the Indian Army, who is sent back to college on two missions: One, to protect the daughter of his senior officer, and Two, to reconcile with his stepmom and stepbrother after the death of his father. His journey takes him through several amusing, romantic, and Rambo-like adventures until he finds the person responsible for his father’s death. Main Hoon Na will surely make you miss your college days, or make you wish you had attended one, and the amazing dance numbers will force you to get off the couch and shake a leg with your loved ones!


Shaandaar (Magnificent)

Director: Vikas Bahl

Writer: Anvita Dutt Guptan

Cast: Shahid Kapoor, Alia Bhatt, Pankaj Kapoor, Sanjay Kapoor

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Shaandaar is a rom-com drama that primarily focuses on the importance of self-worth. Arranged marriages are quite common in India and the entire film circles around the concept. A young orphan girl who suffers from terrible insomnia is adopted by a rich businessman, whose wife and mother hate the idea and think she is a bad investment. She grows up to be an amazing person under the care of her adoptive father and sister, who dote on her.

However, the family goes bankrupt, and the biological daughter is asked to marry into a wealthy family in hopes of getting some financial stability. She agrees, and the marriage arrangements begin to take shape until she meets the guy she is supposed to marry. He is a condescending fitness freak, who constantly fat-shames her and is quite disrespectful towards her. With the help of her adopted sister and the event organizer, she learns to value herself and ultimately calls off the wedding.


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

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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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How ‘Yellowjackets’ Stars Survived Hollywood

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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 —

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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.”

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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”?

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

TAWNY CYPRESS Or Abe Vigoda.

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 Women. PTSD.

LYNSKEY Trauma.

CYPRESS Friendship.

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

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

CYPRESS What?

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

LYNSKEY That could still be, right?

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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.

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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

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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:

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“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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