How Yellowjackets Assembled one of TV’s Most Stacked Casts

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Finding one ensemble cast to bring a show about a high school soccer team that becomes cannibals after a harrowing plane crash was always going to be a challenge. Now imagine searching for two casts, one to portray the 1996 timeline and the other to present the survivors in the present-day. 

Somehow, Yellowjackets was able to stack both sets, but the process wasn’t without its turbulence. (Too soon?)

“It really felt like production was bearing down on us,” co-creator Bart Nickerson said. “And it was, ‘Oh my god we have so many roles to fill and we are not finding the right people,’ but then it just all somehow comes together after hours and hours and hours.”

Nickerson and his writing partner and wife Ashley Lyle were heavily involved in the casting sessions, which Lyle described as “emotionally devastating.”

“Oh man, it’s just a tough day,” she added. “I have so much empathy for every single person that walked into the room.”

While they were casting two people to play one character, a physical consistency wasn’t the top priority for the creative team.

“Early on we said this is a really big challenge and I think we really need to focus on the essence of the character as opposed to the specifics of their physicality,” Lyle explained, “and in a weird way, by doing that, we ended up with actors who miraculously all could look a lot alike.”

Nickerson added, “We can’t believe the cast we have.” 

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