Christina Ricci’s experiences being underestimated were key to getting into her “Yellowjackets” character.
The actor delivers a powerful performance in the Showtime drama as unsettling oddball Misty Quigley, one of the now-adult survivors of a plane wreck that left a high school girls’ soccer team stranded in the wilderness for 19 months in the 1990s.
Misty’s nerdy, unassuming demeanor belies both her extreme competence (you’d never guess she’s such an expert at disabling cars) as well as her more disturbing traits (for example, that she seems to be totally fine with casually disabling people’s cars).
“I love the idea of a person who, the only viable way for them to express their rage is passive aggression,” Ricci told the Los Angeles Times in a lengthy interview published this week . “She’s a small woman. She looks completely innocuous and has no social currency. She’s not ‘hot.’ She’s not charming. She’s not cool.”
Ricci, who originally shot to fame as a child via movies “Mermaids” and “The Addams Family,” said she channeled the kind of subverted rage she’s felt in her own life.
“I am a small woman who apparently is adorable to people who like to touch me and not take me seriously and like to assume I’m stupid before I open my mouth,” she said. “And I’m an actress who didn’t go to college, so I must be really dumb. I deal with my anger in a very passive-aggressive way as well when I’m out in public or in the streets or dealing with someone in the parking lot who’s cut me off.”
Misty looks pretty different from IRL Ricci ― the character rocks large glasses and a curly grayish blond wig. But Ricci said she and actor Sammi Hanratty, who plays teen Misty, both found that getting into hair and makeup provided even more insight into the character.
“When we put on the glasses and the wigs, all of a sudden people would start treating us differently,” she said. “People would start teasing me and making corny jokes, dismissing me. … [Sammi] and I talked about how it’s so informative to be treated that way and to then apply that to playing a character that’s been treated this way her whole life.”
The “Yellowjackets” Season 1 finale airs on Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.
Read the full LA Times interview here.