‘Yellowjackets’ Star Juliette Lewis on Bringing Her Punk Rock, Fan-Favorite Character to Life
Needless to say, welcoming the whims of Lewis has paid dividends for the creators of Yellowjackets, which tells the story of a high school girls’ soccer team that survives a plane crash in the wilderness, oscillating between 1996, the year of the crash, and present day, when the middle-aged survivors are being haunted by the trauma of their past. The thriller, a modern, all-female answer to Lord of the Flies, has captivated audiences and ignited conspiracy theories at a dizzying speed.
As part of the older, present-time cast, Lewis stars alongside fellow Hollywood veterans Christina Ricci, Melanie Lynskey, and Tawny Cypress. Of the quartet of characters, Lewis’s fierce, strong-willed Natalie, a recovering addict and con artist with “toxic bravado,” as Lewis puts it, has the most distinctive style. A dyed-in-the-wool punk rocker, she mixes modern designer pieces (many of which are from Lewis’s own wardrobe) with the sartorial relics of young Natalie, played by Sophie Thatcher. “Every single thing she wears is an expression of her mental state,” explains Lewis. “It’s her facade.” The cherry on top of her insurgent armor is her choppy, artfully disheveled brunette bob and signature sooty eyes inspired by the likes of iconic rockers Nina Hagen and Siouxsie Sioux. In collaboration with costume designer Marie Schley, makeup artist Patricia Murray, and hair department head Marie Larkin, Lewis had a heavy hand in conceptualizing Natalie’s visual story; one that’s inextricably linked to the essence and evolution of her complex character.
In conversation with Vogue, Lewis discusses bringing her idiosyncratic vision of Natalie to life, the fanfare around Yellowjackets, and what to expect from the “holy shit”-provoking season finale.
To start, what attracted you to Yellowjackets?
I mean, the pilot script was one of the best scripts I’d ever read in I can’t even remember how long… It was so riveting and new. It was something I hadn’t seen before. It was so intriguing, and all the characters were so defined. Melanie Lynskey was involved, and then they mentioned Christina Ricci. And so that got me really excited. The brilliant, beautiful, enigmatic Tawny Cypress was not attached yet. I had just heard those names and I was like, ‘Yes, that’s good cast!’ All four of us together. We just complete each other.
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Talk me through the evolution of bringing the character of Natalie to life. How did you collaborate with the wardrobe, hair, and makeup teams?