Lauren Ambrose and Simone Kessell on Their 'Yellowjackets' Initiation, Meeting the Younger Stars (Exclusive)

The two stars join the Showtime drama as the adult versions of fan-favorite characters, Van and Lottie, in season 2.

When Yellowjackets returns with season 2, it will include the addition of two new major characters: the adult versions of Lottie and Van, played by Simone Kessell and Lauren Ambrose, respectively. 

The two actresses join the Showtime drama as it continues to explore what happened to a group of teenagers who survived a horrific plane crash and their respective adult versions who have been forced to reckon with what went on when they were stranded in the wilderness. 

While speaking to ET's Deidre Behar, both Kessell and Ambrose talk about what it was like joining the ensemble cast and working with their counterparts, Courtney Eaton and Liv Hewson, who originated the younger versions of their characters in the past timeline. 


"It was amazing," Ambrose said of joining the likes of Christina Ricci, Juliette Lewis, Melanie Lynskey and Tawny Cypress, who were established as the core grownup survivors in season 1 before it was revealed that others had made it out alive.  

The Six Feet Under star, who's "admired their work for long," added that she was "really excited to be able to join in and continue telling the story of [these characters]."  

Cypress then joked that "there was a hazing period" for the newcomers. "They were like, 'Drink, drink, drink.' I was like, 'Oh, OK,'" Kessell recalled while doing a chugging motion with her hands. 

"There was a little welcoming ceremony," Ambrose said, joking that there was "nothing too traumatizing" about it. 

But in the end, they were welcomed to the group. "It was a lot of fun," Ambrose said, revealing that Cypress "added me to the group text," which made her feel "very honored, like I've graduated in, I'm done." 

Lewis, meanwhile, praised Kessell for being "a natural leader," adding that "she fell right in. We didn't notice any nerves." 


And Kessel being adept at leading is good for the role, considering that when the series catches up with adult Lottie, she's something of a self-help guru, spiritual healer and possibly a cult-like leader. 

"She's completely recreated herself from the Lottie that we know from season 1," Kessel said, adding that in the 25 years since making it out alive, "she's been in and out of institutions. And the Lottie we see today is love and light and healing and spirituality." 

In order to bring adult Lottie to life onscreen, Kessel worked with Eaton on building the character. "Courtney was amazing and she did such a great job crafting Lottie," the actress said.

Eaton reflected on their time together during pre-production on season 2. "Simone and I had dinner and just kind of caught up. And as soon as I met her, she was like, 'Oh, my God. You look like one of my family. Like, one of my own,'" Eaton recalled. 

She added that "our energies aligned and I knew I could trust her with Lottie and that she understood it from the beginning."  

Similarly, Ambrose connected with Hewson about their portrayal of Van. "We did get together and hang out and got to watch the whole first season with this beautiful character that Liv created," she said, adding, "I just feel really honored to continue this character." 

Hewson, meanwhile, had nothing but praise for their adult counterpart. "She's such a good actor and I was excited to see what she was going to do. I was excited to see what Van was going to be like grown up," they said, adding that they put all their trust in Ambrose. "This is her character, too, now. And that's part of the joy of it." 

Yellowjackets season 2 will premiere Sunday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime, with the first episode also available to stream starting Friday, March 24 on the Showtime app.