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The Heartwarming Reason Melanie Lynskey's Younger Yellowjackets Co-Stars Make Her Cry

Melanie Lynskey started acting at the age of 16 when she burst onto the screen as Pauline Parker in Peter Jackson's acclaimed film "Heavenly Creatures," based on the true story of New Zealand's Parker-Hulme murder case. Her teenage success bloomed into a thriving career as an adult actor, with roles in film and television, including "Ever After," "The L Word," "Up in the Air," "Two and a Half Men," "Mrs. America," and, most recently, "Don't Look Up" (via IMDb).

Since she got her start in Hollywood at a young age, perhaps it's not surprising that Lynskey may have seen a bit of herself in her younger co-stars on "Yellowjackets." The gripping Showtime drama tells the story of a group of teenage girls who, in the mid-'90s, are stranded somewhere in the Candian wilderness when their plane goes down while en route to a national soccer championship tournament. The downed plane leads to a struggle for survival none of the girls are prepared for, and their time in the wild has a profound and lasting effect on them in every way imaginable. The Showtime series jumps between the '90s-era story and the present day, where viewers reconvene with a handful of grown-up survivors living their lives and grappling with their past. 

Lynskey plays a grown-up Shauna, who in the '90s is played by Sophie Nélisse ("The Book Thief"). Additional '90s-era "Yellowjackets" cast include Ella Purnell, who plays young Shauna's best friend Jackie, Jasmin Savoy Brown ("Scream"), and Sophie Thatcher ("The Book of Boba Fett"). Although she never shares the screen with the younger actors, thanks to the show's focus on two different time periods, Lynskey was still able to observe and subsequently admire the work done by the younger cast. With that in mind, it's perhaps not surprising to learn that Lynskey has been moved to tears by the work they did.

Sophie Nélisse and Ella Purnell's performances brought Lynskey to tears

In a recent interview with the podcast "Collider Ladies Night," "Yellowjackets" star Melanie Lynskey admitted that watching the performances of Sophie Nélisse and Ella Purnell, who portray Yellowjackets teammates and best friends Shauna and Jacket, in the "Yellowjackets" Season 1 finale made her cry. The episode — titled "Sic Transit Gloria Mundi" — includes a heartbreaking twist in Shauna and Jackie's relationship after a season spent watching their friendship slowly dissolve as it's tested by their dire situation.

"I just adore them both. I think they're so good. And it was making me very emotional watching them playing these little versions of themselves," Lynskey said. Calling Purnell and Nélisse "miracles" and "beautiful human beings," the actress admitted that the moment carried strong emotions for herself and Shauna alike. Choked up, she concluded, "Sorry, I cry when I talk about the young actors on our show."

Delving deeper into her character's emotions, Lynskey says that Shauna definitely experiences "regret" over the fact that she survived the events following the plane crash and Jackie did not, and that she allowed her friendship with Jackie to wilt and falter. Her choices ultimately lead to Jackie's passing, and the characters never reconcile. Lynskey said, "I think she has so much survivor's guilt about, why am I here? Why am I a person who gets to have the rest of my life?"