"It's for all the women who loved Reservoir Dogs," Ricci tells EW of the dark Showtime series.
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Yellowjackets (TV series)

Warning: This post contains spoilers from the first three episodes of Yellowjackets.

What exactly happened in those woods? And who can be trusted? Those are the questions at the center of Showtime's plane-crash drama Yellowjackets, which follows a high school girls' soccer team as they learn how to survive in the wilderness following a plane crash. It also follows those same women 25 years later — at least, the ones who survived — as a mysterious postcard brings them back together.

At the center of both timelines is Christina Ricci's Misty, the soccer team's manager with a knack for survival, and the grown-up nurse who's still desperate to be included. EW spoke with Ricci about creating Misty and whether she can be trusted.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: My first reaction to this show was: I love how dark it is.

CHRISTINA RICCI: Yeah. It definitely feeds that urge that we've all had to have a show about women that's just like no f---s given. It's dark. It's for all the women who loved Reservoir Dogs.

I mean, it's literally about survival and what that experience does to someone, so it should be dark.

Which is great. It's such a great metaphor for so many other things. Like, children who go through trauma end up allowing that trauma into their life as adults. It's like about line crossing, and once you go to a certain place, can you ever fully come back from it? Which is really fascinating to me psychologically. It also really deals a lot with the pettiness of humanity and culture and the way we dehumanize each other and experiences are tabloid fodder. It's really interesting, because once you dehumanize things and depersonalize them, you can just exploit them. So it does kind of play with all of that stuff.

You're playing the adult version of Misty, but there's also a teen version played by Samantha Hanratty. What was the process like of working with another actress to build one character?

It was interesting. I think in the beginning, it made me a little nervous to be honest, but then I met with Samantha. We discussed how we were playing her. I saw the pilot and I saw how she was playing her. It all made sense to me. We met, we discussed the plan, how I would be changing and altering and sort of extrapolating on her performance. It was good. It was nice. I mean, there are few episodes where we sort of mirror things that have happened in the past and whoever shot their version of it first would tell the other person how it was done to try to bring that same essence of that into it. But yeah, it went really well.

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Christina Ricci as Misty in 'Yellowjackets.'
| Credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

How do you feel like the plane crash experience shaped Misty as an adult?

The question always with characters is like, well, what is it they've always wanted in life? What is their drive in life? And we get to see what it is. She just always wanted to be included and wanted to be liked and wanted to be a part of things and just was rejected time and time and time again. But then when she goes through what she goes through when they're stranded, she gets a taste of something that fulfills that need. It's like how they always say teenagers are so vulnerable because they want so many things. But if you give them the wrong version of it, that's the version they'll always seek the rest of their lives. So she's always wanted power and acceptance and social currency. Her social currency that comes is so at the expense of others, that it then sort of delineates what she seeks later on in life.

Also, I think given who she is, she's not a person that is treated well by society, by this culture. This culture doesn't value a woman like this. So she is taught by this experience that she's going to get what she wants by taking, forcing, manipulating. No one's going to give her anything. It's not like they crashed and everyone realized what an incredibly likable person she was, and that's why she's included. That's not what happens. So she is destined to repeat that and seek it the rest of her life. Even the caring for old people, these are people she can control and manipulate and dominate. They're dolls to her.

This is a show where I don't trust anyone, especially not Misty.

It's very precarious. Nobody is a safe person. That's the other thing I really like about it is that it's a show about these women and none of the women are likable. They all do really horrible things. They're not trustworthy. You wouldn't be emotionally safe with any of them. It's great, because this is a space that was formally only reserved for men. So it's really nice.

How much did you know going into it? Were you able to know the entire arc of your character?

No. But we knew the basic concept, a rough sketch of where the show was going, what it was about, where the adults were headed, what had happened when they were stranded. A huge part of it is who your character is. In Misty's case, the what is very important, because there's got to be a clinical diagnosis for a person of this kind. And then that's really helpful, because then there are very specific rules you can follow.

Does that make your job as an actor more difficult when you don't know where the story is heading and what exactly your character might've done?

You have to come to a conclusion at some point. The process is really trying to come to your own conclusion. With a character like Misty, the rules are very important. If you're dealing with such an extreme character, it all has to be grounded or else it's just ridiculous. So that was a little difficult.

I could watch her road trip with Natalie (Juliette Lewis) for hours.

And what's fun, too, is Misty doesn't know how to behave like a normal person and doesn't have girlfriends. So you see her in the car, and she's literally like making up what she thinks girlfriends talk about. Probably none of that ever happened to her. And that's kind of the thing that's fun with her is that, as much as she is very straightforward and exactly who she is, you also can't trust a word that comes out of her mouth. And I think that's probably why Natalie has such a hard time with her.

Did you have a say in her physical look?

Yes. They had an idea of what they wanted, and then for me, it's always really important that unless the whole concept of a film or piece of television is an extreme reality, I think it's very important that the character be somebody that you're like, "Oh, I've seen people who look like that." So for me, it was about grounding even her appearance in some sort of reality. You take it back to one of the most defining things about this person: She does not fit in. She knows she doesn't fit in, though. She's also going to utilize whatever she has that helps her in life, because she has so little. So it's that idea that she dresses in an innocuous way, looks as harmless as possible.

She appears so harmless, but then we watch her do some pretty bold things.

Well, I think she's a person who at her core is someone who wants to be happy. Just because somebody is rejected and scorned for who they are, that does not necessarily take away a buoyant nature that they have. And you see people who are true survivors in that, no matter what box or jail they've been put in, they manage to find joy every day. And Misty doesn't need anyone to enjoy her life. She has constructed a world in which she's entertaining herself, because nobody was going to do it for her. And I love people like that. That's my favorite. Those, to me, are survivors.

Yellowjackets airs Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.

This interview has been edited and condensed for length and clarity.

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YELLOWJACKETS
Yellowjackets (TV series)

Twenty-five years after a plane crash left a high school girls soccer team lost in the Canadian wilderness, the secrets left in the mountains threaten to expose the surviving women. 

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