Tawny Cypress had no idea where her character would be going when she first signed onto “Yellowjackets.” The Showtime drama centers on a group of teenage girls who survive a plane crash, try to rebuild in the wilderness and return to civilization as changed people. The actress plays the older version of Taissa, an ambitious leader who is now, in 2021, running for state senate despite several skeletons in her closet related to what went down in the woods. As the season goes on, Taissa’s darker layers are gradually revealed. “I knew there was going to be something deliciously fun about her and I didn’t know what,” says Cypress in an exclusive new webchat for Gold Derby, of her early days on the show. “It was all a revelation to me going along.” Watch the exclusive video interview above.
So why would a woman who may have resorted to drastic measures (which may or may not have involved cannibalism) want to then run for public office? As we see in both the ’90s and 2021 storylines, Taissa is a driven individual who does whatever it takes to get things done right. Cypress reasons that her drive is also a defense for her after what happened in the wild. “Maybe what happens to her in her whole life is to make herself appear as fine as possible, a winner,” she ponders. “She is a winner above all.” And not only does she strive to be a winner, but she needs to “constantly look like she’s winning,” no matter the cost to her home life.
The actress also gets the thrill of acting alongside some powerhouse women who all happen to have emerged in the ’90s — Melanie Lynskey, Juliette Lewis and Christina Ricci. Cypress reveals that all three made her feel like an equal from the start. “I’ve always wanted to be a part of a team,” she states. “Acting is a team sport, and so coming into these women who I’ve admired my whole life, who have done incredible roles that I watch over and over again, and them accepting me, this girl from Jersey, it’s surreal.”
Even if Cypress wasn’t starring in “Yellowjackets,” she would be one of the show’s avid watchers. “I truly do love the characters,” she states, praising the show for depicting such a complex group of flawed women. “They’re all despicable. There’s not one likable person on the show quite honestly, and I love that… I think these are women that you root for in spite of yourself.”
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