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Interview: Simone Kessell On The Three Sides of Lottie Matthews on ‘Yellowjackets

Talk about bringing in fresh blood. Actress Simone Kessell did just that when joining the cast for season two of Showtime’s Yellowjackets as Adult Lottie Matthews. It is not as if the series needed a transfusion of new talent after its monster success in season one. Even so, it is doubtful you will find anyone complaining about the addition of Kessell who adds the perfect amount of additional madness to the already manic series.

The fresh blood extends to her character on screen as Lottie has also been having her fair share of sanguine moments. These moments include ‘visions,’ one in particular involves a hive of bees turning horrifically bloody. The mental state of Kessell’s character is a hot source of debate with fans. Is she struggling with her mental health or is she truly having these traumatic visions – and if the so, what do they mean? A mystery made only more puzzling during season two’s game-changing finale.

Simone Kessell sat down with Awards Radar to discuss joining the popular series. In addition to being fresh blood, she is also a breath of fresh air providing thoughtful and lively answers to every question. While an invite from Lottie to a dinner party may make you a bit hesitant, Kessell was a true pleasure to speak with. During our conversation Kessell touched upon who Lottie is and what she brings to the Yellowjackets. Each of her answers was more fascinating than the last, including her feelings on Lottie’s mental state and the finale. Check out a couple of excerpts below and also be sure to watch full discussion in the video below.

On what she knew about Adult Lottie going when joining:

“I was told nothing. In fact, I thought she was a psychiatrist. I wasn’t sure what she was and they kept their cards close. It wasn’t till the notes came back, I had done one audition and then the notes came back that they gave me a few more sort of like tidbits. I eventually did another audition and then got the role. And obviously, I was desperate to know more. Then I had to wait a few weeks to actually get a script. And I inhaled that script. I was like, ‘Oh, my God!’ Then eventually, once I the deal was done and everything, I flew to Vancouver. Then I finally got to sit down with (executive producers) Ashley Lyle, Bart Nickerson, Drew Comins and Jonathan Lisco. I had, honestly, like a nerd. I had pages of questions. I sat there and was saying ‘Simone be cool. Ask the questions, get the answers, you know?’ Just do your job.’ They were generous and kind and excited.”

Simone Kessell as Lottie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Storytelling”. Photo Credit: Colin Bentley/SHOWTIME.

On ‘Who the f*ck is Lottie Matthews?’ (a popular trending topic on Twitter and online):

“That’s a really great question. And weirdly, I haven’t been asked that. I think there’s many masks to Lottie. I sort of played her in my notes, one, two and three. I was very definitive in Lottie one, lady two and naughty three. So Lottie, one was the girl that you saw standing on the stage stage holding hands with her acolytes, teaching and healing when in her mind healing. That was Lottie one, the public figure, the actress. Lottie two was behind closed doors – working out where she’s going, who she really is, that can’t turn off, the, you know, where she is really, the psychiatrists scenes, the kind of human being. Lottie three was the complete undoing, the one who was unraveled, was terrified, who was riddled with visions and PTSD. There were variations of that one, two, and three. Given the arc that we see with Lottie, from the beginning to the finale, now that we can talk about it, I had to really place where I was playing her throughout it. Obviously, when you film, you’re out of sequence in the actual episode. So I had to be really careful and mindful of how I played Lottie going through. That was kind of interesting, because I wanted to have her real but the poor thing, she’s just in so much pain. It’s really evident when she draws the card and she’s hoping for the queen, she wants to be put out of her misery She’s like, ‘again, again,’ because she’s done. So when you get into that mindset, I can’t imagine – well, I tried to imagine somebody on that on that ledge. Even thinking about that makes me want to burst into tears – if you get to that stage that you’re like, ‘I’m done. I can’t do this any longer.’ To me that just sort of made her just shake ever so slightly in that and then be very raw. I still can’t explain to you who she really is because she has this beautiful, sort of like lead light window with all these different colors coming through. That’s how I would describe her.”

Simone Kessell as Lottie in YELLOWJACKETS, “Old Wounds”. Photo Credit: Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME.

Seasons one and two of Showtime’s Yellowjackets are now streaming on Paramount+.


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Written by Steven Prusakowski

Steven Prusakowski has been a cinephile as far back as he can remember, literally. At the age of ten, while other kids his age were sleeping, he was up into the late hours of the night watching the Oscars. Since then, his passion for film, television, and awards has only grown. For over a decade he has reviewed and written about entertainment through publications including Awards Circuit and Screen Radar. He has conducted interviews with some of the best in the business - learning more about them, their projects and their crafts. He is a graduate of the RIT film program. You can find him on Twitter and Letterboxd as @FilmSnork – we don’t know why the name, but he seems to be sticking to it.

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