‘Yellowjackets’ Star Jasmin Savoy Brown on Darker Season 2: ‘We Go 5 Steps Beyond’

“It was a lot of screaming, crying, throwing up,” says the actress of filming the Showtime series’ sophomore chapter, which ratchets up the tension and gore

Jasmin Savoy Brown plays young Taissa in "Yellowjackets"
Jasmin Savoy Brown plays young Taissa in "Yellowjackets" (Showtime)

All the members of the stranded Yellowjackets soccer team were losing it to various degrees by the end of the Emmy-nominated Showtime series’ first season, and the situation is only growing more desperate and precarious in the wintry wilderness as Season 2 kicks off.

Ahead of the “Yellowjackets” Season 2 premiere — which streams on the Showtime App starting Friday, March 24, and airs Sunday, March 26, on Showtime — TheWrap spoke with Jasmin Savoy Brown, who plays teenage Taissa on the series. The character, whom Brown plays in the 1996 timeline and Tawny Cypress portrays as an adult, is prone to mysterious sleepwalking incidents and memory lapses where she has no idea what’s she doing. Brown gave us a hint of what to expect this season and whether the goes there.

TheWrap: How dark does this season get?

Jasmin Savoy Brown: We go five steps beyond. It’s so dark. It goes there.

So what is going on with Taissa? In the trailer she’s running with an ax and saying “we’ve got to find a way to stay alive.” I mean, she seems dangerous.

Oh, I love that interpretation. Yeah, I would say she’s dangerous. All the girls are dangerous in a way. That’s something I love about the show, it’s not afraid of examining the morality and how feral teen girls can be and Taissa is no exception. Last season, she really kept it together, she kept herself buttoned up. And she kept the group together and in line. And after Van’s accident, she started to crack. I’d say this season, she’s beyond cracked, like she’s not able to control her emotions and not able to keep control of the group. She’s not able to control the weather or whether or not this baby is coming. There’s so much out of her control that yeah, she’s dangerous to herself and others.

Right, and let’s not forget that she sidelined and injured that other player who she didn’t think was good enough to go to the tournament. So she showed more capacity for violence than everybody else before they got to the wilderness.

I love talking about that with people because I personally do not think she broke [the other girl’s] leg on purpose. But a lot of people do.

Interesting. So in Taissa’s mind, everybody else is barking up the wrong tree there?

I’m not saying … maybe subconsciously, it was on purpose. Consciously, I don’t think she was like, “I’m gonna slide tackle her and break her leg, so she can’t go.” I think that she was like, “I’m gonna teach her a lesson that she needs to step up in order to hang, in order to play,” but I’m always open to hearing arguments that counter that opinion.

How much of a threat is Taissa to everyone else when she’s sleepwalking?

I think Taissa is a threat, but I think that everyone is in their own way. I think that Shauna, in her current psychological and emotional state in the wake of Jackie’s death, is a threat to the group. And Tai, maybe it’s her exhaustion and her lack of physical control. I think everyone is a threat and I’m not sure who the biggest one would be.

Did you have to decompress after you finished filming Season 2?

Yeah, I’m still decompressing. It’s a really grueling, exhausting show. It’s such a gift. I’m so fortunate to be given such brilliant material. And especially early on in my career … in some ways, I’m mad because I’m like, “Wow, you guys have set the bar really high. I’m going to expect this level of writing forever.” But I think it’s rare. I think people forget that the ’96 timeline, almost all our scenes, especially this season, are traumatic, like a flashback for the women. It was a lot of screaming, crying, throwing up, running and hiding. It takes a toll. Mentally and emotionally. I’m still decompressing. Of course, saying “I’m decompressing” is a really nice excuse for vacation.

Wow. So did you need therapy afterward? Or did you have on-set counselors?

We did have a wonderful intimacy coordinator/intimacy coach that was available. Last season she was there for a couple of sex scenes, and then I think people started requesting her for other stuff. Anytime there’s anything that might cause an emotional or psychological response. She emailed us and asked if she wanted us around, and towards the last couple episodes, she was there every day.

Do you take a break from the world of “Yellowjackets” when you’re out of it or are you constantly in touch with your castmates?

I think we all took a bit of a break. We really do enjoy each other, but I think we all did want a bit of a break just because it’s so intense. But I’m looking forward to seeing everybody at the premiere and the press day and celebrating everyone’s really hard work at the premiere. The work this season is really incredible. And I really do believe Sophie Nélisse (who plays young Shauna) will be nominated for an Emmy.

You’re also in “Scream XI.” Which universe is scarier: “Yellowjackets” or “Scream”?

“Yellowjackets.” “Scream” is, like, one dude. Or two or whatever. It’s one entity that you’re escaping and you have modern tools. But with “Yellowjackets,” it’s the elements and the elements are so much harder to survive than a person. You cannot control the weather. You cannot control animals or fire or cold or hunger.

Which character would you say is more resourceful? Taissa or Mindy?

Oh, that’s such a good question. Mindy smokes pot. I think Taissa’s survival skills are better.

Yellowjackets” Season 2 premieres Friday, March 24, on the Showtime streaming service and airs Sunday, March 26, on Showtime. Episodes will drop weekly Fridays at 12:01 a.m. PT/ET each week ahead of their linear airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.