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The Significance of Art in ‘Station Eleven’s Post-Apocalypse

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The Significance of Art in ‘Station Eleven’s Post-Apocalypse

The HBO miniseries Station Eleven is being heralded as a welcome presentation of a gentler, more optimistic post-apocalyptic story. The main difference between this narrative, and many of the works of fiction within this genre that preceded it (post-apocalyptic series like The Walking Dead, The Leftovers, and The Stand) is the prevalence of art. The main story focuses on Shakespearean actors, classical musicians, writers, and the graphic novel with enough gravitas to garner a cult-like following, Station Eleven.

In a capitalist society, art is perceived as a luxury, so in many survival stories, art simply doesn’t exist–there are no campfire songs or stories, and certainly no elaborately-costumed, fully-staged theater productions. Is it possible that what sets Station Eleven apart is its prioritization and glorification of art for art’s sake? What is a life of survival alone? Art adds richness, expression, enjoyment–and in the case of this story, art adds depth and background to the characters, and to their individual arcs. Art also creates and nurtures community, and provides a beautiful reminder to the audience of what art–and living–is really all about.

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RELATED: How ‘Station Eleven’ Serves as the Best Adaptation of The Novel by Making Radical Changes

Arthur Leander as King Lear

Station Eleven begins on opening night of a production of Shakespeare’s King Lear with Arthur Leander (Gael García Bernal) as the title character. The show’s main protagonist Kirsten (Matilda Lawler) is an 8-year-old on the sidelines watching her acting mentor Leander as he collapses of a heart attack on stage. Later on, we meet Tyler (Julien Obradors), Leander’s son with his second wife Elizabeth (Caitlin FitzGerald). It is revealed to us, throughout the miniseries, that Arthur is a charming, exceedingly talented, and very lovable but complicated man–who isn’t always faithful to his partners, and can be selfish, arrogant, and judgmental.

King Lear is, at its core, about a terrible father who decides to retire as king and ration off his kingdom to his children based on who can convince him they love him the most. Ultimately, though, he just can’t let go of the power and tries to sabotage their attempts to rule. Dennis Brown, in his 2001 book “King Lear: The Lost Leader; Group Disintegration, Transformation, and Suspended Reconsolidation” calls Lear’s dysfunction “near-fairytale narcissism.” Over and over again, the story toggles between the loving, generous, kind, and artistic side of Arthur, and the sometimes cruel, self-centered, egotistical, sell-out side.

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Though Arthur Leander is the first primary character to die (and does so in the first few minutes of the first episode) his presence in flashbacks, and importance to most of the other central characters, makes him a constant throughout the entire series. Even Jeevan (Himesh Patel) is impacted by Arthur– though he only knew him for a moment– as he was the first person Jeevan ever cared for on his path to becoming a healer. Like King Lear, even as he steps back, out of the spotlight, Arthur remains watching over, guiding, bringing together, and sometimes even tormenting those that continue living after he’s gone.

The Three Hamlets

The Traveling Symphony–the group of artists that Kirsten joins up with after being separated from her (presumed dead) caretaker Jeevan– tours a section of their post-pandemic world they call “The Wheel” putting on adaptations of Shakespeare plays. Post-pandemic Year 20s production is Hamlet. This is the story of a young prince (Hamlet) who is driven mad by his suspicion that his uncle (Claudius) killed his recently deceased father (King Hamlet) and then married his mother (Gertrude). Angsty Hamlet skulks around getting harassed by the ghost of his father while trying to solve the crime by eliciting the help of an acting troupe who has traveled to their kingdom to put on a play. Three characters play the role of Hamlet throughout Station Eleven. The first is Kirsten (Mackenzie Davis), the second is Alex (Philippine Velge), and the third is Tyler (Daniel Zovatto).


Kirsten as Hamlet

As a child during the pandemic, Kirsten lost everything–her mother and father (who it was inferred were already kind of absent), a brother (although this may have been pre-pan), and her mentor Arthur Leander. She was left alone to fend for herself when Jeevan stepped in as a kind of father figure and his recluse brother Frank (Nabhaan Rizwan) a surrogate uncle, but she lost both of them too. As Kirsten shows off her acting chops in the role of brooding, withdrawn Hamlet, the audience sees her pain, her paranoia (down to arming her costumes with secret knives in case she needs to stab someone mid-performance), her feelings of isolation, the true depth of her damage.

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The audience follows Kirsten’s coming-of-age as we flip between her 8 and 28-year-old selves. We see her obstinacy and rebellion with Jeevan, we see Jeevan’s clumsiness as a kind of involuntary first-time foster parent and the hurt it causes Kirsten, and we see her step into the role of surrogate parent to “post-pan” free spirit Alexandra–who resents her and rebels against her authority the same way she did Jeevan’s.


Alex as Hamlet

Alex embodies a kind of child-like innocence that Kirsten never possessed, even when she was an innocent child. She is impetuous and irresponsible and doesn’t understand Kirsten’s constant vigilance or paranoia, because she doesn’t carry the same trauma. Despite the freedom she has grown up with, she feels stifled by the monotony of the Traveling Symphony and yearns to individuate. Alex grows increasingly resentful of Kirsten–for telling her what to do, for stopping her from exploring, for infantilizing her, for controlling her every move, and (however petty) for always playing the lead in the Symphony’s productions.

One day, her time to shine finally comes. With less experience, training, and maturity to pull from, Alex’s Hamlet has decidedly less depth than Kirsten’s, but her anger (she furiously glares at Kirsten from across the stage) and her elation at a little glimpse of autonomy foreshadow that her path may be different from the one Kirsten has in mind for her. Like Hamlet, like all children, Alex will break free from her parent figure and become her own person.

Tyler as Hamlet

Tyler Leander is Arthur’s only biological child but never experiences the intimacy with his father that Kirsten seems to. His mother Elizabeth was preoccupied with her own pain throughout his childhood, as she navigated her grief regarding her husband’s infidelities, so Tyler spent most of his early years retreating to the sanctuary of his headphones and the internet. His quiet, distant presence allows him to be privy to information he may not have otherwise known because the adults in his world always assume he’s not listening–though he’s wiser and more prescient than anyone gives him credit for.

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Tyler’s Hamlet is–by far–the most gut-wrenching, as he barely needs to act. Clark (David Wilmot) is Claudius–his power-hungry uncle who seemed to be an antagonistic (though confusingly loving) presence to both Arthur and to Elizabeth and Tyler as Arthur’s real family (which ended up being the nail in the coffin of their friendship). Tyler’s resourcefulness and foresight, even as a child, enabled him to overhear Clark’s plans to extricate him from their Severn City airport utopia as Tyler stood in the way of Clark’s authority and his plans to essentially reinvent capitalism. Elizabeth plays Gertrude as she and Tyler/Hamlet gain some catharsis through Shakespeare’s dialogue–mending the parting of ways that came from Tyler faking his own death and embarking on a solo journey in the hopes of one day returning to exact vengeance on his uncle and mother for their betrayal.

Station Eleven, the Graphic Novel

Miranda Carroll (Danielle Deadwyler) is a kind of master-builder for the Station Eleven universe. Carroll is the first wife of Arthur Leander (and arguably the love of his life). She is the real hero of the story on many levels, and she serves as the avatar for the philosophy of Station Eleven. The character of Miranda is a stark juxtaposition to the world of Arthur Leander, who by the time they meet, is a famous movie star. Where Leander and his entourage are artists who have gotten used to the opulence and grandeur of exorbitant financial success and fame–Miranda is an artist for art’s sake. She has been slowly, painstakingly working on a book about survivors of a global apocalypse and the grief that comes with it. Everyone asks her to see her work, which she refuses; and they act confused when she says she doesn’t plan on publishing it. One character even posits the question, “What’s the point of spending all this time making it if no one’s going to see it?” Miranda even goes so far as to burn down her art studio (and all her work with it) when she finds out Arthur showed it to Elizabeth without her permission.


Leander’s inflated ego and his lack of integrity in the projects he chooses to work on cause Carroll to withdraw from him. Once she finds out he doesn’t respect her choices or her integrity and that he may prefer less intense, more success-minded Elizabeth (and may have already begun an affair), she packs her things and leaves. Years later, she ends up rewriting Station Eleven and publishing five copies, one of which ends up with Kirsten and the other Tyler (both via Arthur before his death). The two children become consumed by the book–it is their escape, their coping mechanism, and it comes to serve as a kind of guiding force for both of them. Lines from the book are recited and repeated by multiple characters whenever the story sinks up with the sentiments expressed in the book (“I remember damage. Then escape.”) In one scene, young Kirsten writes a play based on the Station Eleven character Captain Lonegran’s death scene. Through her dialogue, she allows brothers Frank and Jeevan to say goodbye before Frank’s death moments later, thus protecting Jeevan from the grief she feels over never having said goodbye to Arthur.

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Art for Art’s Sake

The free, dirty, commune-style nomad life of the Traveling Symphony and the cold, orderly, insular life of the Museum of Civilization are direct reflections of the people who founded them. Sarah (Lori Petty), the conductor of the Traveling Symphony is the definition of a neurotic, tortured artist. In a twist of fate, Jeevan unknowingly discovers that Sarah was his brother Frank’s (another tortured artist) neighbor when scouring their building for supplies–and finds the sheet music to the piece that Sarah had been working on most of her life, Liszt’s “La Campanella”. Sarah thrives while composing for the Traveling Symphony’s productions, finding fulfillment in the process of making the art, and spreading joy to the people who watch their performances, while she speaks of her days of a successful music career with disdain and regret.


Clark, on the other hand, who began his acting career with his best friend Arthur (the two even played Rosencrantz and Guildenstern in a production of Hamlet when they were young), took a different path when his art career proved to be less-than-successful. He became a “CEO Whisperer.” He succumbed to the pressures of capitalism and thrived in a more material way. At the Museum of Civilization, he claimed and maintained his power, ruling with an iron fist, until, through playing the role of Claudius opposite Tyler’s Hamlet in the final production of Hamlet, he was finally able to relinquish control.

The series as a whole is constantly demonstrating that, while creating art can be emotionally taxing, at times frustrating, and definitely heartbreaking, it leads to a more meaningful life full of rich experience, open-heartedness, and emotional expression. In a story where death is so prescient (almost a character all its own), art is also a shot at immortality, as in the case of William Shakespeare, whose work lives on long after the world ends.

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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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