Lauren Ambrose Teases How Van’s Changed

Mar 24, 2023

Liv Hewson’s performance as Van in Yellowjackets Season 1 is so exceptional that they essentially earned the character’s survival. The original plan was for Van to not make it through the events of Season 1, but Hewson inspired the showrunners to pivot. Not only did they elevate Van from recurring to main character in Season 2, but they also gave her an adult counterpart played by Lauren Ambrose.

In the 90s timeline, Season 2 kicks off about two months after Jackie’s (Ella Purnell) death. Winter has set in full force, there’s no game to hunt, and the conditions are pushing some toward darkness. Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown) struggles to deal with her intensifying sleepwalking episodes, but thankfully she’s got Van by her side to keep her safe and to try to figure out what’s causing them.
Meanwhile, in the present day, the surviving Yellowjackets are scattered. Shauna’s (Melanie Lynskey) focused on covering up Adam’s death (Peter Gadiot), Natalie’s (Juliette Lewis) been kidnapped, Misty’s (Christina Ricci) trying to find her, and Taissa (Tawny Cypress) is desperately trying to keep it together as her other half makes more and more surprise appearances. On top of that, Lottie (Simone Kessell) is back in the picture, yet again drawing followers, but this time via a wellness facility designed to encourage personal growth.

Image via Showtime

As for Van, we can’t get into the specifics on her situation just yet, but during the non-spoiler portion of my conversation with Ambrose, she was able to tease how Hewson inspired her version of Van and also how their versions of the character differ.

“I just really loved Liv’s performance that was so good that they decided to keep the character around, and now I have a gig so I’m grateful for that. I’m so amazed by the combination of extremely vulnerable and extremely tough, extremely capable. The character’s a survivor from the first scene you see her. She’s waking her drunk mother before she goes off to the soccer trip. And the performance was so beautiful and open and alive, even in the face of so many harrowing staring-death-in-the-face experiences. And I think when we find Van grown up that the character is kind of hardened, calcified and dimmed, and seemingly okay. Functioning, clearly, sort of, but the light is turned way down.”

Looking for more on Yellowjackets Season 2 from Ambrose along with Melanie Lynskey and Christina Ricci? Check out our full non-spoiler chat in the video at the top of this article, and stayed tuned. There are many more non-spoiler and Yellowjackets Season 2 spoiler conversations coming to Collider soon!

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