Interview by Jana Letonja

Sophie Nélisse can currently be seen starring on Showtime’s critically acclaimed drama/thriller series ‘Yellowjackets’. Second season returned this March and aired its finale on 28th May. Next up, Sophie will star in short film ‘The Pact’ and in drama ‘Irena’s Vow’.

Sophie, you’re one of the stars of Showtime’s ‘Yellowjackets’, which just aired its second season finale. How would you sum up the final episodes of this season?

I think toward the season finale the stakes got definitely higher. I think Shauna especially has undergone so much trauma and loss that I think her mental state is very at stake and she is unwell. I think they all started to lose track of what is right or wrong and their values. We have seen them tap into an animalistic ferrel side of themselves. 

You captivated audiences throughout season one as Shauna, a member of the Yellowjackets soccer team. After the plane crash, Shauna immediately adapts to life in the wilderness. How similar are you and Shauna?

I think Shauna and I are similar in a lot of ways. I don’t think I’d survive as well as she does in the wilderness. I can’t even start a fire by myself. I think in regular life we are both on the introverted side and observe a lot. I think she has this inner confidence that she hasn’t found yet, that is sitting inside of her. I think that Shauna is still figuring out who she is. I think the wilderness will help her find her inner self and get to know herself a little more.

‘Yellowjackets’ has some grueling scenes so far in both its seasons. How hard were those to film for you? Which was the most challenging scene you’ve filmed on the show?

Mostly all of the eating scenes are always hard to film because everything is pretty tasty. Especially in the Jackie scene. We were eating rice paper and jack fruit, which tasted good, but our brains had a hard time disassociating and it felt too real. The body just looked so real that it was a tough scene to film without gagging and throwing up. The pregnancy episode was another tough scene for me because of how emotionally taxing it was. I wanted to treat the subject matter with a lot of respect and honor women’s stories about giving birth since they are so different, complex and unique. Liz was such an amazing director and really helped me every step of the way.

Why do you believe ‘Yellowjackets’ captivated so many people and gained such huge fandom?

I think ‘Yellowjackets’ is captivating to so many people because all of the characters are very unique and fleshed out, which allows it to reach such a wide age range of viewers. All the characters are written in such great depth that they are so relatable and even give a voice to a lot of people who maybe feel misunderstood. The writers did such an amazing job at creating a show that is walking such a fine line that it keeps the audience at the edge of their seats. It holds comedy, horror and tension, but also some very beautiful love in these relationships. I think that it leaves it up to the audience’s interpretation, where they can ask a lot of questions and form their own opinions. 

The series has already been renewed for season 3. What would you like to see happen in season 3?

I am very excited to see what is going to happen in the third season. I would love to see Shauna take on an emotionless, ice-cold personality since she has lost so much and feels like she does not have much going for her at that point. I want to see the group experience more fighting, chaos and animalistic nature. 

You began your acting career at the age of 7 and made your feature film debut at 10. What contributed to your interest in acting?

I fell into acting very randomly. I was doing gymnastics and was training to potentially compete in the Olympics, but it was very expensive with all the traveling around. My brother wanted to become an actor, so when he enrolled in an agency, I decided to enroll with him to book a few commercials and make some pocket money to pay for training. I ended up booking my first feature film that went to the Oscars, which opened the door to American opportunities. 

What fulfills you the most about acting?

I think it’s being able to tell stories that matter. I feel like through my characters I can provide a voice to those who may feel so misunderstood. I know that sometimes I’ve watched movies growing up that spoke to me and resonated with me. I felt like someone literally knew so specifically what was going on inside my brain. It is reassuring to have a character up there that relates so closely to your story. 

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned on sets so far?

There are so many kinds of lessons I learn. As I go through from project to project, it is such a collaborative effort. Everyone is so important that it is important to listen to other ideas, especially since we are all working towards the same goal. It is so important to be kind on set and open to collaboration because that really goes a long way. 

Sophie, how do you love spending your free time? Do you have any hidden passions besides acting?

I love being at home in my free time and seeing my friends and family. It is always great to go to dinner and catch up with them when I am not working. When Courtney and I lived together during the second season of ‘Yellowjackets’, we picked up pottery, which was so much fun. It was like a little meditation. I love going to the movies and listening to music. I try to attend concerts and music festivals to experience live music when I can.

Can you share anything about your upcoming projects ‘The Pact’ and ‘Irena’s Vow’?

‘Irena’s Vow’ is based on a true story about this Polish servant that served as an SS German officer during the second World War. She managed to save dozens of Jews by hiding them in the cellar of the German officer she was working for. By saving them, she saved thousands of Jews. It is just her real life story and it is directed by Louise Archambault who is an incredible director. It’s going to be beautiful and touching.