EXCLUSIVE: The Australian actress ‘killing it’ on Yellowjackets

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When we last saw Lottie Matthews in Yellowjackets, the teen soccer player had, in short order, told the rest of her fellow plane crash surviving teammates several visions that seemed to come true, wore a crown of antlers to a ”Doomcoming” party as they continued to fend for themselves in the wildnerness, and killed a bear with uncommon ease, offering its heart on an altar in some kind of tribute.

In that timeline of the hit horror drama series, Australian actor Courtney Eaton brings the enigmatic Lottie to life.

But in the timeline that tracks what happened to the Yellowjackets more than 20 years after their ordeal, New Zealand star Simone Kessell takes the reins.

As the adult Lottie, Simon Kessell brings a cult element to the present day Survivors in Yellowjackets.

(IMAGE: Supplied)

”To me, Lottie is a spiritual leader in an intentional community,” the 47 year old tells TV Week.

”She’s reinvented herself as Charlotte, and she’s helping people in the world. So she’s gone from darkness into light. She’s someone who’s taken the hand she was dealth in the past and – what’s the saying? ‘You got lemons, you make lemonade.”’

That ability to transform and evolve has been a hallmark of Simone’s career, starting as a children’s television show host and moving onto roles in Australian-made indie movies such as 2018 motorcycle gang drama 1%, to big budget US series such as Obi Wan Kenobi, where she plays Princess Leia’s mother, Breha Organa.

”I feel that, of late, I seem to play a lot of high status roles,” Simone reflects.

”I seem to play queens, leaders and now cult leaders, and that makes me excited. I’ve kind of come into my own in regards to playing these strong, intelligent women who have something to say.”

Christina Ricci plays the Yellowjackets’ equipment manager Misty, with Elijah Wood as citizen detective Walter.

(IMAGE: Supplied)

For the second season of Yellowjackets, Simone had the unique experience of evolving a character still being played by another actor.

”It helped me, but it also hindered me, because I had the privilege of getting to watch the first season,” she explains of tracking Courtney’s portrayal of Lottie.

”But then it was so daunting knowing I had big boots to fill and bringing her characters into the present day with grace and respect.”

It didn’t hurt that Simone and Courtney, as well as New Zealand’s Melanie Lynskey (the adult Shauna) and Canberra’s Liv Hewson (the teen Vanessa), bonded over being from the Antipodes.

”Courtney and I spoke a lot about everything,” Simone says, ”and it’s great casting, because Courtney is a bit like me – we’re goofy and can get larger than life and excited. We’re aware Lottie is an incredible character and it’s an incredible show to be on.”

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