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Yellowjackets star Christina Ricci has tried and failed to fit the Hollywood mold

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It all started with a little plane crash in the woods and became a worldwide obsession.

yellow jackets, which concludes its first season this week, has become a star in the north for weekly viewers since its premiere in November (it airs in New Zealand on the Neon Channel, Sky Go and Sky TVs SoHo).

Part survival drama, part wizarding mystery, it follows members of an all-girls high school soccer team and, 25 years later, adult survivors who find themselves stranded in the remote wilderness for 18 months after their plane crashes. crashed on the way to a tournament.

Merger mean girls social dynamics with animal ritual, cannibalism and a murderous 90s soundtrack, the series travels between 1996 and present, with Christina Ricci, New Zealand’s own Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis and Tawny Cypress leading the cast. adult.

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As outcast Misty Quigley, Ricci portrays a conniving sociopath in nerd clothes. It’s a particularly terrifying creature, thanks in large part to Ricci’s talent for playing characters with dark, twisted cores: Wednesday Addams from The Addams Family; Katrina Van Tassel sleepy hollow; Selby Wall, in love with serial killer Aileen Wuornos, in Monster. But complex female roles weren’t always easy to find.

Ricci spoke to the Los Angeles Times on the Hollywood stereotypes she tried to avoid, the reasons why she savors yellow jackets and why we should all stop making fun of Misty’s bad hair.

Christina Ricci plays Misty Quigley in Yellowjackets.

Provided

Christina Ricci plays Misty Quigley in Yellowjackets.

Historically, in film and television, women, especially teenage girls, have risen to the top of the pack by being mean or cruel to each other. But in yellow jackets, they are solid survivalists. They are resourceful. And they can be brutal. It has been compared to lord of the flies, but with girls.

These are not stereotypes. They are real individual characters, people who remind me of the girls I went to school with. Fully formed, whole characters instead of caricatures… They could be male characters, in many ways. And it feels very real to me, like something we don’t often see with film and television. If a woman is brutal, the whole series is about her brutality and not just another aspect of her character. I also loved the character I was playing. As an actress, I’m always looking for something that I haven’t seen much in Hollywood.

Misty is fantastic and terrifying and tragic and ultra-competent.

And what I like about her is the way she expresses her rage. I like the idea of ​​a person who, the only viable way for them to express their rage is through passive aggression. She’s a little woman. She looks completely harmless and has no social value. She’s not “hot”. She’s not charming. She’s not cool. So imagine someone like that who has been through her whole life and is still in a place where she entertains, has fun and enjoys everyday life. She’s tight like a stress doll. In the end, what happens is that the eyes stick out and the ears pop out in this comical yet awful way, and it’s really Misty. She’s so passive-aggressive, so full of edge, because she’s got so much rage at having been thwarted all her life. But she can’t express it like a 6-foot-tall man would. So all is smiles and masks everything. That really awkward laugh when she’s feeling awkward or nervous.

Christina Ricci has a knack for playing characters with dark, twisted cores.

TNS

Christina Ricci has a knack for playing characters with dark, twisted cores.

In what ways, if any, did you relate to her?

I’m a petite woman who apparently is lovely to people who like to touch me and not take me seriously and who like to assume I’m stupid before they open their mouths. And I’m an actress who didn’t go to college, so I must be really stupid. But I can’t be directly hostile or directly confrontational. I handle my anger very passive-aggressively also when I’m in public, or on the street, or dealing with someone in the parking lot who has cut me off. So, I’m very connected to that, and I like the idea of ​​being able to show that because I never felt like I played anything where I had to show that display of rage.

Yet she is also a sociopath whose manipulation and cruelty serve her well in a live-and-let-die setting.

The pack is not wrong to flee her. They sense that there is something wrong with her, which is why she is not allowed into the fold. She’s a really great, fair, and complicated character because you kind of understand the fact that she always wanted to be accepted and never was. But then she shows you exactly why she isn’t accepted and invited to the party.

Part survival drama, part wizarding mystery, Yellowjackets follows the members of an all-girls high school soccer team and, 25 years later, adult survivors who find themselves stranded in the remote wilderness for 18 months after their plane crashed on the way to a tournament.

Provided

Part survival drama, part wizarding mystery, Yellowjackets follows the members of an all-girls high school soccer team and, 25 years later, adult survivors who find themselves stranded in the remote wilderness for 18 months after their plane crashed on the way to a tournament.

And his unfortunate sense of style does not help him to endear himself to the crowd.

Sami [Hanratty, who plays the younger version of Misty] and I talked about them both. When we put on the glasses and the wigs, all of a sudden people started to treat us differently. People started teasing me and making corny jokes, rejecting me. I was no longer important and in some cases I was invisible, even though I was like number 3 on the roadmap. It didn’t matter. People react to seeing someone who so clearly has no social value and looks so harmless. She and I talked about how it’s so instructive to be treated that way and then apply it to playing a character who’s been treated that way your whole life.

You’ve been acting since you were a kid and have played so many interesting and quirky characters, but I guess those roles weren’t easy to come by. Now there are projects like yellow jackets. Have you and your castmates talked about how things have changed for you as performers as the culture has changed?

We are very aware that we are playing more and more interesting characters because of the time we are in. We discussed how things have changed just in terms of being an actress what you’re allowed to ask for yourself. A lot of young girls on this show are quite capable of standing up for themselves and saying, “No, I won’t do that. I don’t want to do that. I don’t like the way I’m treated.” And to witness that, having been their age on film sets, was kind of like, ‘Oh, my God, this is amazing. So are we all allowed to do this?’ It’s so fun to not be hampered by all the traditional requirements that there used to be for female characters… in terms of what you’re allowed to express as a working actress that wouldn’t throw you in the “difficult” area.

Christina Ricci began her screen career in the 1990s as a child star in movies like Casper.

Provided

Christina Ricci began her screen career in the 1990s as a child star in movies like Casper.

What was the most difficult aspect of working on yellow jackets?

Misty is a character who expresses herself in a way that people don’t know. Sometimes people felt like what I was doing wouldn’t be recognizable because it wasn’t traditional. “How do we know she’s angry if she’s smiling?” There would be discussions to make her more accessible, but I felt like we’re in a time and place where you don’t need to see yourself in character to be interested or even sympathize. It was difficult for me because I like to be bold, to make very strong choices and to be on the edge. Sometimes it may be too much. Finding that balance where people thought she was still “relatable, while still being true to the character I wanted to play, was difficult.

Los Angeles Times

The end of yellow jackets debuts on Neon and Sky Go on Tuesday, January 18 and SoHo at 9:30 p.m. on Sunday, January 23.

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