Connect with us

TV News

‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Season 1 Recap: Where We Left Off with Our Favorite Televangelists



‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Season 1 Recap: Where We Left Off with Our Favorite Televangelists

Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers through the Season 1 of The Righteous Gemstones.It’s hard to believe that it’s been over two years since a new episode of The Righteous Gemstones graced our screens and our hearts. Created by Danny McBride, this crime-comedy follows a family of uber-popular (and wealthy) megachurch televangelists headed by the highly regarded Dr. Eli Gemstone (John Goodman) and his three clumsy and petulant adult children – Jesse (Danny McBride), Judy (Edi Patterson), and Kelvin (Adam Devine). Jesse’s reputation (and quite possibly, life) is on the line when he receives messages from an unknown number blackmailing him with a video of him and his friends engaging in reckless, inappropriate, and unholy behavior. Unless Jesse is able to cough up $1 million to give to his blackmailers, this incriminating video is about to shatter the Gemstone family’s immaculate image.

During the 9-episode first season, the Gemstone family is thrust into dangerous and bizarre situations with some toxic individuals. Baby Billy Freeman (Walton Goggins), Eli’s up-to-no-good brother-in-law resurfaces and Scotty (Scott MacArthur) a low-level criminal has it out for the Gemstones and their phony facade and (very) real fortune. HBO already renewed the show for a third season ahead of its Season 2 premiere on January 9th.


But before we dive into some more (un)holy waters, let’s revisit what happened in Season 1.

RELATED: ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Cast and Character Guide: Who’s Who in the HBO Comedy Series?

Where to begin. How about the beginning? The first episode of The Righteous Gemstones beautifully establishes the power dynamics of the Gemstone family as well as lays the foundation for Season 1’s main course: Blackmail. Eli, Jesse, and Kelvin arrive home on one of their three private jets (each appropriately named The Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit) after their massive group baptism ceremony in China. Judy, the middle child and only daughter, eagerly awaits their return while seething with jealousy toward her brothers. Because Judy’s a woman, she’s unable to be a pastor like her father and brothers. She hilariously and desperately jumps at any morsel of an opportunity her father gives her to shine in the public eye.

Word got around that the Gemstones plan to expand their presence into the Locust Grove area, and Reverend Johnny Wesley Seasons (Dermot Mulroney), a pastor of a church nearby, is afraid his small congregation will jump ship once the Gemstones invade his territory. Eli shrugs off Johnny’s pleas to reconsider building a new church, which further cements the (obvious) notion that the Gemstones are in it more for money than they are to spread the word of the Lord. At home in his gorgeous mansion, we meet Jesse’s picture-perfect wife, Amber (Cassidy Freeman), and two of his three sons. The oldest son, Gideon, left the family to pursue a career as a stuntman in California and to disassociate from the family.

That night, Jesse receives a video of himself and his friends doing drugs with sex workers from an unknown number who blackmails him into forking over $1 million to ensure the video does not get released. Jesse reluctantly tells Judy and Kelvin about his predicament, and he and his friends wrongfully attack Johnny Seasons thinking he was the blackmailer. Judy begrudgingly gives Jesse money she stashes in the ceiling (as one does) and the three siblings meet the blackmailers in a parking lot. After Jesse secures the thumb drive containing the video, he beats up the masked blackmailers and escapes with the money, too. To finish things off, the siblings run over the blackmailers with their van. Surely that would be the end of this nightmare, right?


At home and completely oblivious to Jesse’s mess, Eli watches old footage from when he and his late wife Aimee-Leigh (Jennifer Nettles) used to preach together. The siblings get their hands on security footage from the night and quickly learn that there was actually a third blackmailer, a young man who escaped unscathed and was able to drive his cohorts to the hospital. Kelvin’s roommate, Keefe (Tony Cavalero), a dim-witted ex-Satanist with a heart of gold, works at the DMV and snags a copy of traffic cam video that could help them track down where the blackmailers ran off to.

Scotty, the alpha of the blackmail trio, is determined to destroy the televangelists. Meanwhile, the young man is having second thoughts and is terrified of getting into any legal trouble. Filled with regret, the young man aborts the mission and heads home. Shockingly, we learn that the young man on the heist was Jesse’s estranged son Gideon. Everyone’s happy that Gideon is home except Jesse, who’s having trouble forgiving him for leaving in the first place. (Imagine if he knew that he was one of the blackmailers?)

To make the situation even more uncomfortable, we’re introduced to Baby Billy Freeman, the creepy, self-obsessed brother-in-law of Eli. Eli generously offered Billy the position of head pastor at the new church (which he accepts), but Billy’s still bitter that his late sister stopped working with him once she married Eli. Johnny’s crew vandalizes the Gemstones’ new church, but Eli and Billy catch them, strip them bare (literally), and humiliate them. For a brief moment, Eli and Billy bond over the bizarre experience, but it’s clear Billy is still resentful. Gideon infiltrates his parents’ bedroom and secretly adds up how much their valuables might be worth and reports back to Scotty, who much prefers cold hard cash.


Keefe is briefly tempted to return to his Satanist roots when he runs into old friends, but stays strong and helps Kelvin mentor a church donor’s daughter, who’s been engaging in some non-Christ-like behavior. Gideon makes his way to the vault that holds stacks of cash donations and continues feeling conflicted. One of the wives of Jesse’s friends comes across emails from their night of debauchery and tells Amber who is convinced their husbands were hacked. (Luckily for Jesse, he’s able to convince everyone that their messages were simply taken out of context.) On the way home, Jesse recognizes the red van in front of him as the one that belongs to the blackmailers. They drive them off the road, and Gideon and Scotty escape into the woods. Jesse tells a shaken and confused Amber not to worry, and that, “Them just some fellas I play car pranks with.” What in the good Lord was going to happen next?

Midway through the season takes us back to 1989 to meet a young Aimee-Leigh and Eli who are pregnant with Kelvin. Jesse and Judy are even more intolerable than they are as adults, and blatantly say that they don’t want another sibling. Aimee-Leigh breaks the news to Billy that they can no longer go on tour as their brother-sister duo because she’s expecting. To get back at Eli and Aimee-Leigh for throwing off his plans, he sneaks Jesse beer at Judy’s birthday party, which leads to Jesse embarrassing the family with a drunken outburst. Even back then, Billy was a real piece of work.

In the present, Jesse has stolen the red van of the blackmailers and is keeping it at Kelvin’s. (Keefe also eats a slice of cheese pants-less, which is something you definitely cannot unsee.) During a golf outing, Billy tells Eli that he thinks Judy deserves a chance in the spotlight away from the “secretary shit” she’s given. No one ever goes to bat for Judy (except her timid fiance, BJ, that everyone ignores), so she’s immediately intrigued by him. Eli doesn’t want to hear it. “Less chitchat, more play.” Billy goes behind Eli’s back and tells Judy that he wants to give her a starring role in the Gemstone church Eli just gave him. Are we supposed to believe Billy thinks Judy is a gifted performer? No way in Hell. He’s looking to be a thorn in Eli’s side. And poor Johnny tells his tearful congregation that he has to close the church.

Gideon’s all bruised up from the crash and is struggling to come up with excuses to his parents as to why he is bruised. Jesse and his crew get another threatening call from Scotty, though Jesse’s feeling pretty confident, and tells him off. Judy dances her way to confidence for Billy with a show-stopping rendition of “This Little Light of Mine”. Gideon and Jesse have their first real heart-to-heart, and (awkwardly) hug it out. Keep in mind, Jesse is still completely unaware that Gideon is (now reluctantly) working with Scotty, the Gemstones’ blackmailer.


Eli confronts Billy about taking Judy from him, and Billy explains that if it wasn’t for Eli swooping in from “a poor preacher’s family” and “stealing” Aimee-Leigh, Billy might be the one with the fortune and prestigious reputation. That night, Billy welcomes “Miss Judy Leigh” onto the stage, and the two perform the hit song, “Misbehavin’”, that Billy and Aimee-Leigh made famous. Gideon’s genuinely fun evening of board games with his family gets abruptly interrupted when he gets a call that his “LA friend” is at the gate and wants to visit. That “friend” was Scotty. Dun dun dun!

Episode 7 takes us back to Jesse’s infamous night that was caught on tape. He and the family were at a prayer convention in Atlanta, though Jesse dipped out of a family dinner to sneak back to his hotel room and get drunk with his friends. Gideon was understandably annoyed when he caught his father, especially since Gideon was set to leave for California for an entertainment industry internship. Jesse flipped out at Gideon for confronting him and said that he wouldn’t make it in Hollywood. Per Jesse’s request, Gideon packed a duffle bag and left. But before he left, he positioned his phone behind some bottles and pressed record. (Okay, back to the present.)

A cleaned-up Scotty wines and dines with Jesse’s family, much to Gideon’s horror. Scotty claims to have been spiritually saved by Gideon, whom he met doing stunt work and says he’s in the area for a high-paying job (um, stealing from the Gemstones). Easter Sunday is a few days away, and Eli prepares for another extravagant celebration. Jesse’s given the honor of delivering the main sermon, Judy is shocked (and elated) to hear that Eli wants her and Baby Billy to perform at the service, and Kelvin is bummed that he will (yet again) be coordinating a dance with the youth members. Now that Gideon knows where the vault is, he devises a plan with Scotty to steal donations on Easter. Scotty shows Gideon the last copy of his father’s tape, though Gideon is still a bit weary and regrets his involvement in the blackmail.

Billy refuses to perform for Eli and tells Judy they will keep their plans to perform at Billy’s church. Judy tells Eli on Easter that she won’t be performing for him, and that his showing interest in her talents is “too little too late”. After all, you know what they say: “You can’t gobble the pie if you didn’t help make it.” Judy takes her conflicted feelings out on BJ, and their fight ends with him crying and driving off in his Smart Car. While Jesse gives his sermon, Scotty heads to the basement to set the plan in motion. Gideon has a change of heart, beats up Scotty, takes back the tape, and tells him that he is bailing on the mission. No matter how corrupt the Gemstones are, family is family.


Scotty steals back his van and holds Jesse at gunpoint. He tells him that not only was he working with Gideon but that it was Gideon’s idea. With Eli and Gideon in tow, Scotty breaks into Eli’s and secures the key card for the vault. Jesse and Gideon begrudgingly fork over stacks of cash. Just to be safe, Scotty locks them inside. After dropping Judy off at home, Billy and his wife, Tiffany, are brutally t-boned by Scotty in his red van. Believing Scotty to be dead, Billy and his wife ransack his van and find a gun and stolen donations. Things get even messier when Scotty breathes awake Jon Snow-style and startles Tiffany, who accidentally shoots him in the head. The two attempt to hide the red van in a nearby marsh.

Upon hearing about Gideon’s initial motives, Amber tells him he is no longer welcome. Judy and Kelvin are relieved to hear that Eli still doesn’t know about the blackmail, leaving only Gideon to be blamed. Billy and Tiffany pack their things and flee back home with the cash. Billy cuts ties with Judy, telling her that she lacks the true talent and looks her mother had. Before Gideon leaves, Jesse breaks down and apologizes for being a horrible father. Judy tries to win BJ back while he’s at work, but her explosive behavior ends up pushing him further away.

Kelvin’s convinced God is punishing them for being hypocritical leaders and kicks Keefe out. Jesse invites his friends and their wives over and plays the tape of their crazy night, admitting that he is imperfect and that Gideon was not the one to blame. Amber (finally) freaks out on Jesse, going as far as shooting him in the butt with one of their (many) guns. Eli bails Judy out of jail for vandalizing BJ’s work. Keefe tearfully drives away to find a new home and passes cops excavating Scotty’s van from the marsh. Meanwhile, Tiffany and Billy are partying with their cash.


And now we’ve reached the grand finale of Season 1. Kelvin and Judy tell Eli all about the blackmail scandal and Eli fires his children from the church. Amber tells Jesse that if he really wants to repent for his sins, he should do what Gideon’s doing and do mission work in Haiti. Judy tries to win back BJ at an Outback Steakhouse, but he isn’t convinced. (He’s a bad boy with an earring now.) She admits she’d lied about being with a lot of men, and that BJ’s her only boyfriend. Kelvin makes a bizarre admission that sometimes he thinks he’s Jesus, which his siblings quickly rule out. He’s so distraught that he gives up his youth leader job and gets decked out in head-to-toe black, but quickly returns to his religious roots when he hears Keefe has been sucked back in by Satan.

Jesse flies to Haiti and tells Gideon that he showed everyone the tape, but Gideon still doesn’t want to come home. BJ runs back to Judy, and the two get back together. When Jesse returns sans Gideon, Amber turns him away. Jesse focuses his efforts on tracking down who stole the cash. Eli had told him that the van was recovered from the swamp, but the criminal is still at large. The siblings find Billy’s Jesus toy in the dirt and realize he stole the cash from Scotty. Eli and his kids confront Billy during a rainstorm, which leads to Billy getting struck by lightning. Somehow, he survives, claiming to have seen Aimee-Leigh in Heaven, who told him to make amends with Eli. Billy tries to start his own church as the “Electric Preacher” and Eli apologizes to Johnny, who now works at a hardware store. Eli offers him a job to work with them, which he accepts. The season ends with Jesse returning to Haiti, grabbing a shovel, and repenting alongside Gideon.

What in the name of Lee Iacocca is going to happen to the Gemstones next? Keep the faith! Season 2 of The Righteous Gemstones premieres Sunday, January 9th on HBO.



TV News

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

TV News

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.


Continue Reading