If you haven't seen Showtime's Yellowjackets yet, we suggest you run - not walk - to your nearest television, laptop, etc. But only after you read the inside scoop on the drama series' development and casting (we promise to be careful with spoilers).
Yellowjackets, created by husband and wife duo Bart Nickerson and Ashley Lyle, centers around a group of high school soccer players who find themselves stranded in the woods after a tragic plane crash. Viewers see how the teen girls transform from teammates to cannibals as they fight to survive in the wilderness.
"It was a girl sports team, lost in the woods, well, obviously they have to become cannibals," Nickerson said of the logic in developing the storyline. And then the pair had another idea: switch back and forth between the 1996 plane crash and the survivors over two decades later. But that meant hiring two different casts - the teen version and the adult version - which was far from easy.
"It really felt like production was bearing down on us," Nickerson recalled. "And it was, 'Oh my g-d, we have so many roles to fill, and we are not finding the right people,' but then it just all somehow comes together after hours and hours and hours." In the end, they got a cast like no other: Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis, Christina Ricci, and Tawni Cypress star as the adult versions of the young women.
Sophie Nélisse, Sophie Thatcher, Sammi Hanratty, and Jasmin Savoy Brown act in the teen roles. "Early on, we said this is a really big challenge, and I think we really need to focus on the essence of the character as opposed to the specifics of their physicality," Lyle shared of how they chose the actors who play the same character at different ages. "And in a weird way, by doing that, we ended up with actors who miraculously all could look a lot alike."
Bart and Ashley explained that they had the cast spend time together to get to know one another and bring similarities to the small screen. "They just took it upon themselves to be in constant contact and spending time with each other and talking character," Lyle said. "It was actually fascinating the extent to which there are just a lot of similarities amongst them in real life."
You can catch new episodes of Yellowjackets every Sunday on Showtime or their streaming service.