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Yellowjackets' First Table Read Had Sophie Nelisse Thinking She'd Be Fired

The casting directors of Showtime's "Yellowjackets" faced a challenge plenty of other series have dealt with, and that's the challenge of casting actors playing the same characters decades apart. It's not easy to find the right actors who are not only skilled enough to pull off the script's emotional demands but whose older and younger counterparts look similar enough that you could believe the latter would grow into the former. Not every production is as lucky as the casting directors of, say, 1992's "A League of Their Own" were, having an older actor in Lynn Cartwright who looked so convincingly similar to a 65-year-old version of Geena Davis' Dottie Hinson that many thought it was just Davis in aging makeup. 

"Yellowjackets" faces a far bigger challenge. First, the older Yellowjackets are on screen for roughly the same amount of time as the younger Yellowjackets, though this is obviously less true for characters who are only later revealed to have survived those months in the wilderness. Second, and more importantly, it's an ensemble cast, with many more adults to find teenage counterparts for and vice versa. For the most part, this challenge has been successfully met, particularly in the case of, say, younger Misty (Sammi Hanratty) and older Misty (Christina Ricci), make very obvious. 

The show's other cross-age casting choices might not have looked like ideal matches, however. Or at least that's how it looked at first to one of the younger actors cast in "Yellowjackets," as Sophie Nélisse, who plays the younger version of Shauna (Melanie Lynskey), thought she might not make it past the first table read.

Sophie Nélisse thought she looked nothing like Melanie Lynskey

At a panel with the cast of "Yellowjackets," Sophie Nélisse said that she was shocked to have gotten the part, given that in real life, she has blond hair and blue eyes. Meanwhile, Melanie Lynskey, who plays her adult counterpart, is dark-haired and brown-eyed. Fans of the show may be surprised by this, given that the two actresses' physical resemblance on camera is rather undeniable. But seeing the panel discussion, in which Nélisse — without contacts and with her natural hair color — says this while sitting next to Lynskey, we can sort of see where she's coming from. That's not where Nélisse's anxieties ended, though.

"And then I get to the table read for the first time," she said. "I've never really heard her speak in real life that much. And she has a line, and I hear her and I'm like, 'oh my God, she's so high-pitched.' And I'm sitting around the table with everyone important that's important. I'm like, 'I'm gonna get fired.'" Nélisse freaked out, and when it came time to say her own lines, she intentionally pitched her own voice higher. 

Of course, Nélisse didn't get fired. But it was only after styling was finished that she understood why the show's production team made the choices they did. Lynskey, for her part, was quick to reassure Nélisse at the panel. "I think it works," she said, "and you were so good in the table read [that] if anyone was going to get fired, it would be me."

At this point, show co-creator Ashley Lyle interjected. "We were not going to fire either one of you to be very clear," she said.