When she first enters the screen on Showtime’s hit series, Yellowjackets, the 1996 version of Misty Quigley, is perceived as a timid, overeager equipment manager, who would not hurt a fly. That quickly changes after a plane crash leaves her team struggling to survive in the wilderness. The incident shifts the balance of power and soon Misty reveals there’s much more to her behind the surface.
The same can be said about the actress who plays teenage Misty, Samantha Hanratty. First of all, it is surprising to see how a delightful actress like Hanratty can be embody such a dark character. More importantly though is learning the great deal of experience and passion she injects into this captivating role. Hanratty’s level of commitment and thought put into developing Misty, beyond what is in the script, is fascinating.
It is not very often a character can break your heart one moment only to terrify you the next. This is exactly what Hanratty accomplishes with Misty. This week’s jaw-dropping episode, “Two Truths and a Lie” puts the two sides of Misty under a microscope; the sympathetic outcast just looking for acceptance and to be needed and the unpredictable manipulator who will do anything to retain her new found power status.
During our conversation, Samantha provided incredible insight into who Misty is as a character, but also a look into the her craft. It is impressive just how deep the actress digs into the mindset of Misty, her backstory and emotional state, as she develops this complex and multifaceted character.
Below are a couple of insightful excerpts from my interview with Samantha. I highly recommend watching the full uncut 34-minute video of our conversation (below) for an intriguing look into all things Yellowjackets and Misty. We covered a range of topics including how she got into the business, Jackie’s taste, the character she would like to play, episode five, working with Christina Ricci, what Yellowjackets she would invite to her slumber party and much more. Fans will eat it up.
Samantha’s take on Misty:
I try not to judge the characters that I play. Maybe when I’m done with the whole show, I can really sit there and be like, ‘Oh, that girl’s gotta go.’ But while I’m playing her, I really have to like her and I do. There are so many things about Misty that I do enjoy. I do like that she has no filter. I do like that. When she feels like she can open up to somebody like she has with Crystal, she can tell her those things and she thinks they’re fun and she gets really nervous about expressing things – but then if she ever hears a compliment it goes so deep. I feel like she’s only ever heard negativity. So when she hears something positive, she holds on to it. I try to keep an innocence almost about her in the way that I play her. I think, like I said, like, I enjoy getting to play her. There are definitely times that I’m like, ‘Oh my god, Misty, what are you doing?’ But it’s up to me to read that and go, ‘Okay, how can I ground this? How can I make this a genuine confession or a genuine moment?’
On the limits that Misty is willing to go:
What I’ve realized more with this season than last season is she really doesn’t take ownership for much. She doesn’t take on the consequences of her own actions. She really just pushes it on everybody else. So, when you have that kind of mentality, you’re kind of willing to do anything, She’s willing to strand them all there, just to have some more attention, and to have some more, you know, need to be needed. Even with the beginning episodes with tripping Ben Scott, while he literally is limping and has no leg, she trips him just so that she can be the one to pick him back up. So, yeah, I think that she’s in a place where she’s willing to manipulate and do anything to kind of matter to people.
For much more with the talented and ever so pleasant
Yellowjackets is currently in the middle of season 2, with new episodes airing Sundays on Showtime. Catch up on this season and all of season one on the Showtime or Paramount+ apps.