Stars of the Showtime hit series “Yellowjackets” – Melanie Lynskey, Christina Ricci, Tawny Tawny Cypress and Juliette Lewis – get candid about the pressures they faced as young actors in Hollywood.
In a wide-ranging interview with The Hollywood Reporter published Wednesday, the four actresses discussed their “Yellowjackets” roles, overcoming and redefining the industry’s standards of success, struggles with body image and owning their experiences.
“Yellowjackets” was nominated for outstanding drama series July 12, and Lynskey was nominated for lead actress in a drama series and Ricci was nominated for supporting actress. The show alternates between 1996 and the present day following a high school girls soccer team whose plane crashes and are stranded in the wilderness for 19 months.
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Melanie Lynskey said she was body shamed while filming ‘Coyote Ugly’
Lynskey, 44, said she received unwarranted comments about her body while filming “Coyote Ugly.”
The New-Zealand-born actress said she felt pressured to lose weight during production for the 2000s romantic musical movie starring Piper Perabo, Maria Bello, Izabella Miko and Tyra Banks.
“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,” Lynskey said. “That was already people putting a lot of Spanx on me in wardrobe fittings and being very disappointed when they saw me.”
Lynskey shared that a costume designer once told her: “Nobody told me there would be girls like you.”
She added there was “really intense feedback about my physicality, my body” and that the makeup artists on set would say: “‘I’m just going to help you out by giving you a bit more of a jawline and stuff.’ “
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In January, Lynskey told Rolling Stone she also experienced body shaming while filming “Yellowjackets” by the production team. “They were asking me, ‘What do you plan to do? I’m sure the producers will get you a trainer. They’d love to help you with this,’ ” Lynskey said.
She added that her “Yellowjackets” co-stars Cypress, 45, Ricci, 42, and Lewis, 49, supported her and penned a letter to the producers about the comments.
Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis on playing ‘quirky’ and ‘offbeat’ characters
Ricci recalled being labeled as “quirky” early in her career and how in some ways she’s OK with the term but in other ways, “it’s a little dismissive.”
“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,” the “Casper” and “The Addams Family Star said.
“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.”
Lewis added that it’s “really neat we’ve all carved this path of range and specificity.”
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‘Yellowjackets’ stars want to protect younger actresses from what they endured
The “Yellowjacket” stars have come a long way since the start of their careers. What they’ve experienced in the industry has made them feel protective over co-stars Sophie Nélisse, Sophie Thatcher, Samantha Hanratty and Jasmin Savoy Brown.
Lewis said she developed a survival mechanism to protect her autonomy as she was self-critical of her work earlier in her career. “That’s what I’m unlearning today — to be softer,” she said.
“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 still hold on to what it took from me in my youth,” Lewis said.
Lewis said she wants young actors to cultivate other interests in order to avoid Hollywood defining their self-worth.
Lynskey said she felt protective of young actresses on set and sent them an email early in production showing support. “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,” Lynskey said.
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