IN CONVERSATION WITH SOPHIE THATCHER
Interview by Jana Letonja
Multi-hyphenate talent Sophie Thatcher has captured audiences with her layered performances, making her one of the most enticing young performers on the rise to watch. She is best known for her role as Natalie on Showtime’s Emmy-nominated, coming of age survival drama series ‘Yellowjackets’, which premiered its second season on 26th March. The series is receiving rave reviews as Showtime’s most watched series of the last six years.
Sophie, we’re currently able to watch you in the second season of Showtime’s ‘Yellowjackets’, which is receiving raving reviews. How did you feel when you got cast on this series and what are your thoughts about it and its story?
Karyn Kusama is an absolute legend, so knowing she was attached from the get go made me confident. Hearing later on that Juliette was cast as my modern-day counterpart felt so flattering because I’ve looked up to her for years. To think I shared any sort of resemblance to her helped instill confidence in me. The show is so exciting because it pushes boundaries thematically and truthfully could go anywhere. I think it’s natural for humans to be drawn to the survival genre and curious to see the breakdown of societal norms within these girls as they rid themselves of who they used to be.
In the series, you portray the younger version of Natalie, a character with punk rock spirit and a habit of finding trouble. She is dealing with a drug and alcohol abuse, but proves to be an invaluable member of the team after the plane crash. How challenging do you find portraying Natalie, someone with such a strong spirit and dealing with substance abuse?
Natalie is a very vulnerable and complex character and I’ve found similarities within myself when I was younger. She masks her vulnerability with this tough and sometimes stoic exterior, but deep down she is incredibly sensitive and full of intensity which ultimately drains her completely. This season she really latches on to the role of the huntress and finds solace within taking on that distraction. She feels a sense of importance within this task, as she is keeping everyone alive and fed every day. After the wilderness she loses her sense of purpose and that ultimately leads her into a spiral of craving that specific intensity she may never feel again. I admire her resilience more than anything and would love to take that on with me in life. Natalie lives in me to an extent. I’m excited to continue the journey with her and then let her go and move onto different collaborations and projects.
In the second episode of the second season we’ve been able to witness the group succumb to cannibalism in a truly schocking scene. How was it filming this scene and how did you personally deal with it?
I love the way they played with surrealism in this dream sequence. I believe this fantasy world they go into is their way of subsisting and numbing themselves to get through the experience. The banquet was a beautiful and manic day. I brought my boyfriend to set that day and wanted to make it clear to him that this was the furthest away from what our show typically feels like. Usually it’s much more bleak. I found myself dealing with the actual cannibalistic shoot rather similarly to my character. I began to disassociate and it almost turned into an out of body experience. I had a couple moments where I thought “What the hell am I doing with my life and my job”. The cast is very good with remaining light on set and that ultimately brought me back to a more grounding place.
Next up, you’ll be starring in the 20th Century Studios adaptation of Stephen King’s ‘The Boogeyman’. Tell us more about this film, that will be premiering this June.
The film centers around a family that has just lost their mother and my character Sadie is in a very distinct stage of grieving. All she wants is to feel a closeness to her mother and reconciles her grief through her mom’s belongings to embody her and replicate that feeling of intimacy again. Sadie starts off reclusive and internalizing her sadness as she distances herself from her friends and family. But soon she’s forced to face all of her anxieties and defend herself and her family against the antagonist. The boogeyman for me stands for a lot of different abstract examples of our internalized anxieties, and for the Harper family it embodies grief in sinister ways.
Both ‘Yellowjackets’ and ‘The Boogeyman’ have very dark stories. What makes you so attracted to darker stories and portraying darker characters?
I’ve found comfort in the past from depressing stories. It’s grittier and often more to play with within the character’s story arc. There is somewhere to build upon the blackness and gloom, a starting point that leads towards an upwards trajectory, molding layers upon layers in the story and characters. I’ve said this before and ultimately stand by this for my purpose as an artist as of now, I just want people to find solace within the characters I play and feel less alone. These darker stories allow me to dig deeper and hopefully effectively resonate with those watching.
After portraying characters with such heavy stories, how do you disconnect from all the darkness and heaviness when you’re done filming?
I always bring my keyboard whenever I travel, so I can have music as an outlet. For season two of ‘Yellowjackets’ I was very persistent with going back to LA to be with my boyfriend and the home I’ve cultivated. Being around people that I love and ground me back to reality is the most important thing alongside finding music as a therapeutic outlet where there’s no pressure, only simply to create. I often times have my twin visit me from Chicago, so I can have another semblance of home in whatever strange place I’m staying in. I noticed after first season of ‘Yellowjackets’ that Natalie remained in me for a couple months after. Although that wasn’t entirely negative, it brought me spontaneity and solidity. I think going forward with roles it’s best not to take the characters home post filming.
You started your career with guest roles on TV shows before making your feature film debut in ‘Prospect’ in 2018. What are some of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome to get to a point in your career that you are at now?
I had a moment after filming ‘Prospect’ at 16 where I didn’t book anything for two years. I was finishing school online and turned to a pretty strange and isolated place. I turned to my other outlets, like music and art, and that reminded me that the pressure to work consistently in entertainment is not in the end all. I moved to New York at 18 and took Meisner classes and immediately regained a sense of confidence and conviction I hadn’t known in a while. After I regained that confidence, I luckily started booking again. Through this I’ve learned that the lulls are never the end and it’s important to remain grounded and in touch with all of your artistic outlets and sides.
Before TV and film, your resume includes quite some stage credits from your days in theater. How did being on stage prepare you for being in front of the camera? What are the most valuable lessons theater taught you?
I learned the importance of remaining present and the significance of committing to a role, fully letting yourself be immersed into your character’s way of living. Filming my first TV credits was difficult because there is so much pause and start, and so much off time for your head to wander to other personal places. What I love and miss about the stage is the quality of endurance and immersion within a play. You get to transport to that world fully for two hours and escape it afterwards.
TV and film has had more of a lingering sensation for me and I’m still learning how to balance staying in character without it overwhelming me on off days. I remember early on taking film acting classes and the teachers always telling me to throw away my lines for a more naturalistic approach. Now looking back, I understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t condone it because it leads to uncertainty and disillusion within the characters’ objectives and overall motives. Theater taught me the power of my voice, breath work and thoroughly mapping out my characters decisions.
bodysuit VEX LATEX
dress LOUIS VUITTON
rings LILLIAN SHALOM
Born and raised in Chicago, how much do you miss ‘The Windy City’?
Most of my immediate family is still there. My twin, my older sister and mom are there, so I try to visit often because it will always be home. I’m proud of growing up in the Midwest, I think it’s given me a sense of modesty and solid grounding. I love ‘Chicago Dogs’ more than anything and still love the Chicago music scene. Being in LA now stands for a different point in my life and makes more sense for my job, but Chicago will always be my home.
Sophie, let’s also talk about your first love, music. What feelings does music evoke in you? Can we expect to listen to your songs someday as well, besides seeing you on our screens?
Music will always be my first love. I’ve been making my own music since I was 16, all pretty DIY, starting off in my mom’s basement to isolate myself. I use Ableton and have a summit novation synth that I usually improvise vocals and other melodies over. I released music on Bandcamp when I was younger, but hope to take some of my demos to another, more well-rounded, better produced place. I’m beginning to collaborate and learn from other musicians and that’s very invigorating and exciting for me.
talent SOPHIE TATCHER @soapy.t
photographer NICK RASMUSSEN @byNickRasmussen
stylist TURNER @turnerturner
styling assistant JOEY SIGALA
make-up ROBERT RAMSEY @robrumseymua
hair: SULLY LAYO @sullylayo
PR IMPRINT @imprintpr
prop stylist GINA DAVIVO @pocketgina
editor TIMOTEJ LETONJA @timiletonja